Growing up in the church meant that I’ve always had a pretty solid sense of community. It felt like I had countless moms throughout all of the women in the church, and there honestly wasn’t a single person in my life every day that I didn’t know pretty much all of the details about. Very rarely was anyone I talked to known as “John’s Mom”, but instead as “Mrs. Smith”. We were a tight-knit community who would help each other when needed and it felt as though no matter what was going on in our lives, there was always someone around who could cover any slack when needed.
On top of that were things like regular potlucks and parties where, honestly, the people in this small church were a constant part of my life and felt (still feel) like family.
As my wife and I have now made it through our first month as business owners, one of the biggest things we’ve been talking about from the start is regarding how much we want to be a part of the community that our business is located in. We have all sorts of ideas for community events and ways in which we can really feel as though our business is truly integrated within the community it resides.
However, while we had all of these ideas, the concept of how to implement them is one we haven’t quite gotten to. While I like to consider myself a fairly affable guy, years working from home has meant that I feel somewhat introverted and don’t necessarily feel comfortable going out of my way in trying to get to know people. My wife, on the other hand, has never considered herself much of a people person, so, we were both looking at the concept of becoming a part of the community as an incredibly overwhelming concept.
Turns out, we didn’t need to worry about it at all.
Since we’ve taken over the bakery, the community has come to us. We’ve been greeted friendly by business owners, city administrators, and non-profit coordinators almost non-stop since we’ve taken the keys to the business, and now, well, I’m actually at the point where I find it difficult to keep up with all the requests people have for how we could be a part of the community.
It’s exciting, and I’m really eager to put The Nostalgic Bean on the map for being a hometown bakery that the community wants to stand alongside, but also, I’m exhausted. I forgot how much work it can be to put on a smiling face and remember how to be that friendly guy who used to come so easily to me.
All the same, there’s a lot in store for the not-so-distant future for The Nostalgic Bean and the Chippewa Valley (and Altoona specifically), and I couldn’t be more excited for it all…even if it all sounds more than a little exhausting.