Saturday we celebrated a special member of our Chamber, the Santee Coffee Corner. I was introduced to this business before my time with the Chamber began, as friend Clint August was a regular at their Carlton Hills location. I would often pop in on Friday mornings as he made himself available for friends and conversation, and even though he always had a crowd around him, he would always make room at his table for the next friend who arrived. I slowly got to know the family behind the Corner, the Parks.
Duane and Susie are a Santee power-couple with hearts made of gold and kindness that radiates throughout every bit of their being. They built a business to give their children a safe place to grow and learn and to give back to a community that had given them so much. With two locations now (Carlton Hills and Town Center Parkway) I find myself at their stores regularly. Former Santee Chamber CEO John Olsen started a monthly networking event (theMorning Buzz) which is still one of my favorite ways to interact with current and prospective members.
Walking into the Coffee Corner isn't like walking into just any regular business. As Mayor John Minto said recently, "You walk in as a customer, and leave as a friend." I have found this so true with their family... Duane never hesitates to make friendly conversation about my work and home life, Susie is always willing to lend an ear, and even their daughter Mikayla has worked as an intern for me at the Chamber! Their store is my Central Perk... it's my place for friends, family, a second office, and of course, some of the best coffee in town.