And just like that, the most incredible, challenging, fun, stressful, exciting year of my life flew by.
A year ago today, we opened a cafe. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. I still don’t.
I still don’t know how many boxes of bananas we go through in a week or how to fix the coldwell when it won’t get down to temp. I don’t know how to make acai appear when we run out and I don’t know how to “discipline” staff when they’re late. I’m unorganized. I’m not strict. I’m unconventional. I’m not a lot of things that people who run juice bars should be. But what I am is super passionate, hard-working, and driven. And somehow that has been enough to help make Alchemy a success.
I kid you not, I still get the warm and fuzzies every time I walk through the door. I still can’t believe it exists. I still can’t believe that I’m serving people food that I helped create. It’s scary and it’s surreal.
To my husband, my child, my best friend, and everything else that Alchemy is to me…I am thankful.
Thank you for teaching me to have a thick skin. This is critical for the real world, for dealing with distributors and suppliers, for working with stubborn employees, for handling customers that want to chop your head off, for staying strong when you read a Yelp review that says your food sucks.
Thank you for teaching me even more about family. Because that’s what Alchemy is, and not just because our whole staff calls me “mom.” I adore every person that works at Alchemy and how they’re all so incredible warm, hilarious, hard-working, and unique. We function because of our amazing staff. They make my world go round.
Thank you for teaching me that it is possible to follow multiple dreams at once. In the beginning and even recently, I thought that I may have to give up Hummusapien in order to give Alchemy the attention it deserves. I didn’t think I could do them both with all my heart. But before my eyes, they helped each other flourish.
Thank you for showing me that running a blog and a juice bar is not a walk in the park. It has made me a stronger person. I’ve learned that this life is a lot of responsibility. You essentially never leave work. You’re constantly on call. If anything goes wrong, it’s your job to fix it. If some one doesn’t show up, it’s your responsibility to fill in. Finding time to practice what I preach and actually work out, cook, eat right, hang out with my friends, and go out on the weekends all takes a back seat. But when you love what you do and who you work with, you learn to manage your time more wisely. You learn to stop micromanaging everyone. You learn to delegate. You learn to trust other people to do your job, even if it’s not perfectly executed. You start to see the bigger picture.
And finally, thank you times a million to Abed Alshahal. Thank you for befriending me junior year of college and asking me to join you in this venture a couple short years later. Thank you for believing in me, for trusting me, for putting me in a leadership position that you knew would challenge me to the core. Thank you for not giving me the answers and forcing me to discover them on my own. Thank you for encouraging me to stop focusing on my mistakes and instead begin to learn from them. Thank you for teaching me how to see the other side, how to delegate, and how to empower others. You never stop inspiring me to be a better person.
Alchemy is a platform for social change. It’s an opportunity to transform traditional health food and health care, to change the local food system, to teach people that healthy doesn’t have to mean sacrificing flavor or spending a bunch of money. I hope to spend the rest of my life spreading that message.
Thank you, Alchemy, for making me feel so, so full. So full of purpose, pride, knowledge, happiness, gratitude, and, appreciation. I know who I am and I know exactly why I’m here. I was put on this earth to spread the joy of health and good food and everything in between.
Thank you for turning that once far-fetched dream into the most delicious reality.