Tuesday, January 18, 2011

on why I love the St. Louis Bread Company

I <3 Bread Co.

If you've read my blog once, then you know this.  And you already know why:

I <3 Icee Mochas.

But that's just the ice in the drink.  The cherry on top.  The tip of the iceberg.  I want to tell you about the secret ingredients to the true cola recipe.  I want to tell you about the hand-blown (OK plastic) glass.  I want to tell you the whole story - the meat and the bones of it.  Because there used to be a time when I would travel long distances to alternate Bread Cos. in order to spread the wealth so to speak (or reduce my frequent-visit-induced-embarrassment...Monday South County, Tuesday the one at the mall, Wednesday the one by the hospital, Thursday...OK.  I think you get the point.)

There are three reasons why I love the South County St. Louis Bread Company.  And flavor is the first.  But flavor is opinionated.  I prefer Icee Mochas from Bread Co over anyone else's.  Believe me, I have tried them all.  But someone else could argue that McD's is just as good.  Or Starbucks.  Or homemade.  Taste is my opinion.  I love theirs.

What I also love about my local Bread Co is that they know me by name.  Not just because I have their customer appreciation card that tells them.  When I walk in - it's like a re-run from Cheers.  Everybody knows my name.  A rousing, "Karin!" explodes from place (almost) and a magical whir starts in the blender (that's true).  They know my name and they know my drink.  Often it's made for me by the time I reach the front of the line so all I have to do is pay the price and head back out the door.  I love that!  It makes me feel warm and welcome (even when the beverage is frozen and chocolatey).

But still, that's not the main reason I love my South County Bread Co.

The main reason I love my South County Bread Co. is because of their people.

A few weeks ago a terrible thing happened in my neighborhood.  Prayer was needed and people were extraordinary and I knew that in the face of tragedy - even potential tragedy, we want to do something to help.  One time my dear friend told me - during some of our toughest times with Pookie - all we can do is pray and feed you.  Let us do that.  I put my prayer warriors on the case and sat down at the table wringing my hands.  People needed to be fed. 

I called Bread Co.

Through tears, I ordered soup and sandwiches and hot chocolates and pastries and I said only that, "People need to be fed."

I grabbed Sashi from preschool and ran to my South County Bread Co. and as I was pulling in, they called me on my cell phone and said, "Park right in front.  We're bringing it straight to you."

When I arrived, I handed them my Christmas gift card.  On the receipt, I saw "free" and "free" and "free" and was given a meal for Sash and me to share in addition to what I'd bought.  They didn't just hand out free food which would have been an awesome gesture.  They collected their employees' customer appreciation cards and cashed in all their own earned freebies - hot drinks, bagels, dollars off from sandwiches...and they bagged it all up: 'to school,' 'to friend,' 'to Karin.'  And met me at the curb.

And so it is true, what Samuel Johnson said.  "Getting money is not all a man's business: to cultivate kindness is a valuable part of the business of life."

That is why I love my St. Louis Bread Company.
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