i make it a directive each winter, as december turns to january, to select a word of the year. a word to keep in my mind, a word to live by, a word to live out. and, because my personal life and my summit life are so intertwined, the word needs to work for all things. in 2016, that word was patience, and it proved to be a prescient decision with all that the year would have in store for me.
hospitality. the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers. often synonymous with friendliness, kindness, warmth.
that’s where i landed for 2017. it has always been a hallmark of the summit coffee experience, and likewise, i have always made it a priority in my life as a whole. but as things grow, and get busier, and more crowded — both physically and mentally — it’s hard to keep a focus on great hospitality. we, as a summit team, have had weeks and months of creating a remarkable hospitable environment. “it’s just like ‘cheers,'” some will say, while others call our basecamp location “davidson’s living room.”
and, as things flow they also ebb. i’m aware that we’ve had stretches of unremarkable hospitality. of colder-than-necessary greetings, shorter-than-necessary conversations, and smaller-than-necessary smiles. early in 2016, frankly, our hospitality was ebbing. so while summit was growing, in terms of staff and revenues and brand recognition, our focus on the homefront was waning.
here we are, mid-january 2017, and i want you to know we’re aware. of all of this. hospitality is a focus of mine this year, and thus a focus of summit’s. it’s our commitment to making our cafes inviting and our interactions thoughtful. with this in mind, we crafted a three-part company mission statement:
- to deliver a memorable experience, serving remarkable products in a warm environment.
- to sustain a positive work environment that empowers individual growth and fosters collaboration.
- to create vibrant and meaningful places within our communities.
we’re fortunate to have a terrific team leading the hospitality front, and it starts with courtney spear, our director of engagement. most people know courtney from the davidson farmers market, or from our food operations. courtney’s focus in 2017 within the summit family, however, will be to engage both staff and customers and bring flow back to our hospitality. courtney has worked with evan and me to develop a new hospitality course that all of our current employees will take in the coming weeks.
as we head into 2017, we want to share with you what our goals are going forward. this is one of many, but perhaps number one of all. for those of you who continue to have great hospitality experiences, we strive to make those even more meaningful. and for those of you who may have had some worse-than-expected interactions at summit, please trust that we’re aware and we’re focused on it.
here’s to hospitality. here’s to warmth, to smiles, to conversation and appreciation. here’s to you. here’s to 2017.