We closed our coffee shop for two days—Christmas Eve and Christmas. As a newish small business we don’t have the cash reserves to cover two days’ loss of revenue, so a decision like this can weigh on me as a business owner. It wasn’t the easiest decision to make, but I believe money isn’t more important than people, and in this case, our employees.
I own a coffee shop called Proust Coffee. We value quality over quantity and consistency over speediness. We have a minimalist and focused coffee menu without a lot of options. We make traditional espresso drinks—a macchiato at our coffee shop won’t be what you get at Starbucks.
We handcraft all our syrups from the actual spices because we want the syrups to compliment the espresso not overpower it. Our syrups won’t be too sweet—you will taste the actual flavor of the spice not just sugar. We pride ourselves in the quality and consistency of our product and our customer service.
It’s hard to beat the satisfaction when someone takes their first sip of coffee for the day and they pause for a moment and the look of jubilation fills their face with a smile, and they turn to us and say that’s the best cup of coffee they’ve ever had.
We like to put smiles on people’s face by making them coffee.
I happen to be someone who owns a business, and I don’t pretend to know business. The decisions I make don’t always add up or seem to be profitable—I don’t always follow the advice of business experts. It might make me a genius, a fool, or it’s just possible I suck as a business owner.
Here is my business philosophy in a nutshell: I will choose people over profit every time.
Our employees are the backbone of our coffee shop. They work hard and invest in the success of our business. They are the reason we’re able to offer our customers with fantastic coffee, delicious Liege Waffles, and excellent customer service. We felt it was important to give our employees two days off to help them rest and spend quality time with their families.
The Absurdity of Faith.
As I was deciding to close for two days, I had several people tell me not to worry about the lost revenue and that God would cover us.
I understood what they were telling me, but this didn’t influence my decision. What influenced my decision to close shop for two days was our philosophy of making people a priority over profit. Even if God didn’t cover the loss of revenue for being closed for two days, I still believed it was the right decision to make. Faith doesn’t always add up or make sense. If it did, then it wouldn’t be faith.
Living by faith isn’t easy and it’s really hard to do. It’s difficult because living by faith doesn’t always guarantee things will work out for my earthly benefit. And even though there’s a possibility things might not work out for me I will still put others first before my own needs.
It’s kind of like what the Apostle Paul said,
“Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.” Philippians 2:3-4 MSG
What will happen, will happen…
We didn’t recover the lost revenue from the two days we were closed and going into January was a nail-biter. But our value as a business isn’t in the revenue we make—it’s found in how we treat people.
The question foremost on my mind when I get to the coffee shop at 5:30a.m. every morning is this: Did we put a smile on their faces and make their day better by treating them with kindness and giving them a great cup of coffee?
Sure, I need to make money so I can keep making coffee, pay my employees and pay my bills—but money isn’t the ultimate aim. The ultimate aim is to make someone’s life better by treating them with kindness and love even when things don’t benefit me. People matter to because they matter to God.
I do this because it’s the truest demonstration of grace I can offer—I am called to love my neighbors because God first loved me.
That’s the absurdity of faith.
*This article was first published on Patheos