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1 Man's Journey in the Coffee Industry and Life

You all know by now, what I am writing about is my experience from a little kid, who knew nothing, to an adult, who fell into the perfect situation, realized I could capitalize on it and try to make a better life for my family. What I mean by my family is my wife and children, and to a small extent my parents.  Why I don't really know because it wasn't an easy, carefree life even in the best of times. But so hey, no one has it down perfect right? If you do let me know, I certainly don't know anyone who has.  So now there will be a picture, without a clear outcome. There will be holes that can't be filled, and that is ok, but it will always be the truth. You can count on that. So I came from a project, was sent down to Virginia, thank god, to finally realize there is another way of living. It gave me insight, it gave me an education to how, the other half lives, it gave me hope.
So here I am in 1994 battling with family demons I thought only existed when people were struggling. I had no idea the animosity and tension between two brothers who ran the business, I quickly found that out. Although the owner was not mean, there was a sort of a mind game going on that I couldn't quite put my finger on. Anyway, my owner's brother and I became pretty close. I was 34 and trying to learn the game of golf, and he would try to help me in any way he could, I loved him, he was a great guy to me. He used to say to me, you know Joe, you have a great opportunity hear to do whatever you want to do, my brother will listen to you. It was true what he was saying, but I couldn't believe he was giving that up. My take on it was, he cared more about the company, than his brother and I would never go behind his back with a new idea or thought. I always ran it by him because I respected him and wanted his input.
It was difficult at best, being in meetings that he would bite his tongue and certainly could have brought up ideas we talked about and taken credit for the final outcome. Hey, I wouldn't have blamed him one bit, but he kind of became my champion, and when his brother would get agitated, he always seemed to be able to calm him down, and he would urge him to listen what I had come up with. It was really unprecedented and totally selfless. To this day, I can only say that he helped me greatly in my advancement and ultimately my control of everything that happened in that company for 3 years. I still really don't know why he did, but a big thanks to him for stepping back and letting it happen. I guess that is a trait of a great man, where you make choices for the greater good of something else regardless whether you get the pat on the back or not. I can't thank him enough.
In many ways he stepped aside and deferred to me, but only after urging his brother to listen to what I had to say. Pretty heavy stuff for a business that was started by their father and two other guys in 1928. This was 1994! I remember I used to go home and be amazed at the lack of red tape and things we could implement on the fly. We were a lean mean fighting machine, but only because there were no agendas, or backstabbing or jealousy. Businesses just like families have a lot of that stuff, we had none of it and it was pure and it was going beyond our wildest dreams. It was a great time, everyday was a good day most of the time and the ones that weren't great we were still moving forward, even though someone was in a pissy mood or just not completely immersed. We had gone from $5.5 million in sales in 1988 to $22.9 million in 1994, without adding too much overhead. I still pushed for automation over hiring employees, but usually lost that battle. But everything was humming, I was going home always thinking, how do we now get to $40 million. It is very hard to do, let me tell you, especially in the right way, meaning don't land an account that gives you $18 million dollars worth of business all at once. You live by the sword you die by the sword, likely story. Name me one person with an entrepreneurial spirit that would turn it down. I haven't met one yet.
One thing we must all remember is, your family comes first!!! That means to me my wife, my children and my grandchildren. Other people have other ideas about that, but I am not one of them. We all come from nothing and we all turn to dust. I will be.. happy when some people on this earth turn to dust. Just as they would me, but I always liked the comment any press or advertising is good advertising, so I think I had a pretty good night tonight. So let's wait for tomorrow and this blog may or may not have a different demeanor. We will see, but again jealousy is a very suffocating thing and tries to stop all good things and choke your creativity. But only when it is superior to your thoughts and you give in. That's never going to happen.

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