About six months ago, I read a blurb in the local paper about a new bakery opening near my home. The foodie in me reacted joyfully, and I made a mental note to check it out as soon as possible. When my kids and I left a nearby cinema soon thereafter, we determined that a sweet treat would be a perfect way to end the evening and so made haste to the new bakery.
Alas! The door was locked. According to the sign, we had arrived about five minutes past closing time. Disappointed, we opted for visual gratification and stared through the window at the croissants, scones, muffins, and macaroons in the bakery case.
With our hands cupped to the sides of our heads and our noses pressed to the glass, we must have looked desperate to the owner and her husband who were still inside, tidying up from the day’s business. To my great surprise, she gestured to us to ask whether we wanted to come inside. While I was shaking my head to politely decline, my nine-year-old was exuberantly bobbing her head in affirmation.
Amanda, as she quickly introduced herself, opened the door and ushered us inside. She answered our questions, shared her ideas for the shop, talked to my junior-foodies about favorite flavors and restaurants, and generally made us feel welcome, though she was clearly exhausted from the daily rigors of a start-up business. In fact, she even seemed happy to have us there. We walked out with a sleek white bakery box filled with newly-purchased treats–which were, by the way, delicious.
The story isn’t over. The next time I visited the bakery, Amanda remembered my name–as she has every time since then. When my kids aren’t with me, she asks about them. When they are, she addresses them individually, and she often compares food notes with my daughter. If she’s not sincere, she certainly has me fooled.
I’m really pulling for Amanda’s success. She has cracked the code for genuine service by making connections with her customers. She’s got a fan in me, and besides that, her croissants will knock your socks off.