Fab Friday is a day I like to share with everyone some of the great people and wonderful businesses that I've come across on the Vineyard or from different places where I have traveled. Today I'm sticking close to home, I mean really close to home. Today Fab Friday is a business, Espresso Love in Edgartown, that I started 20 years ago, June 6, 1992..
When I started this business, I was in deep financial trouble. I was loosing my house, because of my divorce. I had no money, I even had to borrow the $1000 from my older son to file for bankruptcy. That was a month before I opened Espresso Love's doors.
I knew nothing about owning or running a restaurant, but I had owned and operated three child care centers in the Boston area for 18 years. I knew about customer service, and providing patrons with a good product in an enjoyable environment. But I was desperate, I needed money, so I had to make this business work. My parents gave me a good work ethic, which is needed when you open a business. You will work harder than any of your employees and usually make less money, especially in the beginning. It takes a lot of faith, and vision, and an attitude of never giving up to make it in business.
It was a very humbling time for me, I had to start all over again. When you been successful, no one wants to be at the bottom again, and have to work their way up. It's like being in first grade. Nobody likes going back there.
As tough as the situation was, it turned out to be the greatest time of my life. I had a chance to do what I loved to do, cook and bake, and build a business. I worked with four of my kids at different times, which was always challenging for both sides, but I always loved being around them. But as my daughter Maureen always said during those years, "mama these are the good times". She usually said that when things weren't going so well; but it made me laugh at myself and at the situation. You always need to look on the bright side no matter what is happening in your life. Bad situations never last forever, thank God.
The success of any business depends so much on timing; I opened Espresso Love just at the beginning of the coffee craze, even before Starbucks came to Boston. But success also depends a great deal on the people who are working for you. Without my kids this could have never happened. Michael borrowed the money for me to open, but TJ, Paula, Maureen, and Debby all worked tirelessly baking, cooking, working the counter, or did anything else that needed to get done. I love them all and will be forever grateful for all the time and effort they gave to making Espresso Love so successful.
About 4 years ago I made my youngest son, TJ, my partner. That way I could kick back a bit, and not work so hard. TJ has done an amazing job, and in fact, we opened a new Espresso Love at 33 Broad Street, in the middle the financial district in Boston, just a little over a year ago.
I think there are a few lessons to be learned from my story; you can start over at any age, you can do what you love, and make a living, never give up no matter what, always look on the bright side of things, and be grateful for the bad times as well as the good. You usually grow more from adversity, than when everything is going your way. Sometimes it's difficult to see at the time but so true. Hindsight is a great gift.
Because of our 20 year anniversary, we will be selling a tee-shirt this year that says "making love since 1992". That's a long time to be making love, but someone had to do it!
This is just a small part of the story. I look forward to sharing the other chapters in my story.