Love knows no distance.
– Walt of Shorebux
Tucked back in a corner lot near the base of the Lesner Bridge is the best Starbucks I have ever had the pleasure of being a customer. This location first opened its doors in August of 1999. It has been serving handcrafted beverages for almost 16 years, yet it will be closing and moving to a new location this week. I am very sad that my favorite Starbucks is relocating.
You see, this Starbucks is in a perfect location for me. Just over a mile from my home, it is within walking, biking and running distance. Yet, the best part of this particular Starbucks is not its location on the “right” side of the road on my way to work. No, the absolute best part of this Starbucks is the people.
The store manager of 5 years, Amber is down to earth and so friendly. She knows me and my kids by name. Furthermore, Amber has always been the kind smiling face who offers empathy when she can tell you’ve had a rough day (she doesn’t even have to ask; she just knows). Let’s just say I had many long, rough days when I worked as a Home Health PT. If you know Amber, you know she is an awesome person with a huge heart! She exemplifies what is it to be a good manager as she leads by example.
Her leadership is part of what makes this such a great store, as the baristas here are also consistently the best I’ve seen in any one location (good leaders hire, train and lead by example). Many of the baristas also know me by name and they also know my beverage of choice. They know that sometimes I vary my drink a little, so they wait for me to order. “Two pump grande vanilla soy latte” sometimes has an extra shot. Sometimes it is a tall with 1 and a half pumps. The baristas have the soy out before I even order as that part, at least, is consistent. They know what I’m going to order, and will even say, “don’t you get that with 2 pumps?” when I’m too tired to say all parts of that 6 word long order.
So the baristas know my drink and they know my name. You see, that’s not all. There is more. They also know me as an individual. Some baristas know more about my separation than my own mom (sorry, mom!).
I’ve also talked about a full range of topics with this group of baristas, individually. Tattoos and tattoo artists with Walt. Parenting, dating, separation and divorce with Jackie, Andi and Amber. Vampires and weight loss with Crispy (not necessarily at the same time). Physical Therapy and running injuries with Josh. Being neighbors and career changes with Nikos. Running accomplishments and goals are a topic with any of them who will listen. (yeah, that’s what some of us crazy runners do).
You see, this Starbucks means more to me than my lattes. They fill my cup with more than my espresso beverage du jour. They are caring individuals lead by an empathetic leader. In essence, they truly seem to care about their customers as individuals.
So it is with a heavy heart that I say bye to this amazing group of individuals who are all moving. This store is closing this week to re-open in a new location that is 7 miles “in the wrong direction” for me. That is 7 miles one-way from where it currently sits. While I will make it a point to visit, my visits will be far less frequent than what they have been over the past 9 years.
To “my” Shorebux Baristas, I will miss you all greatly. Thank you all for filling my cup with more than just a “handcrafted espresso” for all of these years. It has been great to know you all. I leave you with the wise words of your very own Walt, “Love knows no distance.”