(Ed. note — the following is a story from Maggie Lowe, a Davidson barista who’s worked with us since January).
In January of this year, I made my first of many trips to Starcreek Drive in Cornelius, NC. Summit houses its roastery on Starcreek, and my first visit was to get the lowdown on the job I had just accepted, and the company I now worked for. If you can believe it, Dora was actually quite subdued when she interviewed me…but that all ended there. The second time it was full smiles and talking faster than my poor little southern ears could keep up with.
One thing was made abundantly clear to me that day.
“Summit Coffee approaches coffee, community and collaboration with remarkable hospitality and a commitment to excellence.”
If Summit seeks to help people achieve their own summits, then these three words are the basecamps we use to get them to the top: coffee, community, collaboration. I want to share a story with you about these words.
I received the greatest Christmas present ever when I was offered employment at Summit in 2018. It had been a long year, but more on that in a moment. I had been wanting a job in coffee for a while but couldn’t find anyone willing to take a chance on a girl with no official experience.
From the moment I started my first shift, it was obvious that this organization was different in its pursuit of the extraordinary. However, the kindness and compassion of this company would be tested sooner than I expected. I began my job in January. In February, my late father’s dearest friend passed away after a battle with cancer. The following month, my mother’s dearest friend passed away after a battle with cancer. That very same week, my dearest friends in the world, at the age of 30, lost their two year old. Her name was Grace and Grace taught me what a warrior looks like. Grace herself had battled long and hard against an aggressive form of brain cancer and she absolutely dominated it. But in the end her little body decided it had fought (and won) enough…it was time to rest.
Sometime last month, I discovered something called “The Great Cycle Challenge”. It is a fundraiser where you raise money by riding a bicycle throughout the month of June, and every dollar raised goes to The Children’s Cancer Research Fund. I signed up almost without thinking about it. As June approached, and began, I started putting some money into enhancing my Wal-Mart bicycle. This included getting some clipless pedals and the special shoes needed to clip in to clipless pedals (It’s a whole big thing. Ask me about it at the shop sometime!).
Something you may not know about Summit is that on top of our wages, we are each given a green fund. We earn a bonus for every hour worked and can receive bonuses in our green fund for various situations when we volunteer time or exert special energy. When we want to withdraw our green fund money, we fill out an application. So I decided that I would apply for my green fund money to buy biking shoes.
It was a Wednesday morning, and it was around 10 a.m. Before my 11 o’clock shift, I decided to fill out my application, and one of the options was to invite co-workers to donate their own green fund. So, I wrote a small paragraph, inviting my work family to donate to my fundraiser. I sent it and started getting ready to go to work. I had a notification that a message had been sent to the whole company. Andrew explained that, for the first time ever, someone was inviting their coworkers to assist with green fund money and then he copied my blurb. I was amazed at how quickly that happened! I headed off to work.
Not long after eleven, I received another message from Andrew: “We’re at $500 and counting.” There are truly no words. I stared at my phone for a few moments, returned it to my pocket, and then pulled it out again to make sure I had read that right. The rest of that day was mostly just smilingly stupidly at people. Until Andrew came in that afternoon to tell me we had gotten over $600.
At this point in the story, I discovered that June 12th is a special event for The Great Cycle Challenge: Kick Cancer’s Butt Day. On this day, special partners of GCC match donations. I let Andrew know and he started working on the financial-business side-of-things involved with working that out. Yes, that is the best way I can explain it.
On June 12th, I headed to Boone to get in some special biking and waiting to see how the day went, fundraiser wise. I received a message from Andrew that he would be donating the $700 that was raised. All in all, I biked 20 miles on the 12th, including a stint on a very hilly portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway (the first 5 miles took me an hour and a half). But after a sit in the chilly swimming pool where we stayed, I pulled out my phone to see a donation from the Summit Coffee family. A donation totaling $845.00.
You don’t have to be a coffee aficionado to know that Summit pursues greatness in coffee. But just in case you ever need substantial evidence that the people of Summit, from the owners to the baristas slinging Americanos with both hands wearing a smile truly care about community and collaboration…let me testify.
To those who visit Summit—you are involving yourself with much more than a company when you walk through the doors; you are walking into a group of friends doing what they love, and we invite you to share our love for three things: coffee, community, and collaboration.
To those who work at Summit—we haven’t known each other long…but we have known each other long enough. I walked through those doors during one of the hardest periods of my life and you gave me community. When I discovered the one thing I could do to honor my two-year-old hero and show my friends that their daughter would not be forgotten, you collaborated with me to make it more than I ever imagined. And we did it all with a cold brew coffee can in hand!
And to those of you who are facing your own mountains—find your Summit. We are in Davidson, and Asheville, and you can find our bagged coffee at your local Whole Foods or dozens of cafés and stores around the U.S.
Join with us, and let us help you Find Your Summit.