Zachariah (Cohere member) shared that the above title is my job description! I love it and it has inspired today’s post.
I come from a small town and enjoyed relative peace of mind knowing that our banker lived just up the street and gave out loans based on reputation. My school teacher was also my Brownie leader and my mom handed out the food stamps to our neighbors who were down on their luck. My best friend’s dad raised the cattle we ate, my uncle grew our corn and you could see into the kitchen at the bakery where my brother worked mornings.
In an increasingly global economy, products are made and services are rendered on the other side of the globe instead of right around the corner. I long for the bygone days of knowing my farmer, my baker and my candlestick maker and their children, spouses, cousins and their debt to income ratios as well as who was dating who every Saturday night. How can I get a little slice of this hometown nostalgia in a world where it is cheaper to make and ship bowling balls over here from China?
Managing Cohere has been an excellent exercise in keeping things local and provides daily lessons on how deeply you must CARE for your customers, especially when there are no layers of staff or thousands of miles between me and them. I see my customer’s faces and speak with each of them nearly daily. They witness how I work and interact and run the business. There are no secrets in Cohere (we have very thin walls). How many businesses can say that they actually see and talk with their customers every single day? Even the local coffee shop will draw the occasional tourist whom they will never see again.
Cohere is held up by local people who care. Our coffee is roasted by a woman named Jackie. She hand roasts and delivers our coffee right to our door and stands there and chats while I write her an old fashioned check. When is the last time you shook hands with your coffee roaster? Soon, we’ll enjoy the fruits of Grant Farms labor when the summer harvest starts. When is the last time you set foot on the land where your produce is harvested? Cohere t-shirts are printed by a man named Jason who does his work around the corner from here. He takes the order, prints the shirts and takes my payment. There is no 1-800 number–I just knock on his door. Our signs were made by a woman named Amanda. She delivered the signs to Cohere and stayed to explain how to install them.
Our furniture was made by a man named Drew. He bought beetle kill wood from Colorado forests and created everything in his garage, trucked it up here and installed it. All of these people care about their customers–deeply and locally.
Who serves you locally and how do you know that they care about you?