Gregorys has an ever-expanding/changing roster of baristas and managers that we depend upon to deliver quality coffee and good vibes; we have lucked out more times than one could imagine when it comes to welcoming terrific people on board. One of said blessings has been Jennifer Vazquez, who was recently promoted to manager over at 55th and Madison. We sat down with her soon after she took the mantle to reflect on her experience with us thus far, how she has taken to the task of manager, and what she calls her "eccentricities".
How did you wind up at Gregorys Coffee?
When I applied to Gregorys I had actually just graduated from college with a BFA in Painting and Drawing. I had just quit this other job I had for 2 years - I was a barista there too (so I had the basics down) - and had tried applying to so many jobs in the art field, but no such luck. I decided to apply to barista positions instead and voila!
Was there a specific coffee or coffee-shop moment that had a big impact on you?
I think the first time I had a single origin coffee from Gregorys, made using the aeropress - that was a big moment for me. I had never had any single origin coffee before, let alone much that was lightly roasted. When tasting it for the first time in training, I was very excited and surprised! Lightness added further depth; it made me love coffee so much more.
What are you passionate about in your free time?
Omg (oh my gosh) this is such a loaded question for me! As a natural extension of my studies and interest, I make art when I'm free; I even get hired to do paintings sometimes, so if I ever have a commission, my free time is not so much "free time", but likely what I'd be doing anyway. I've also been playing music my whole life, so I definitely do that a lot - I sing and play the keyboard. My band is actually performing this month so I've been super preoccupied practicing! I'm also really into long-distance running and yoga. Basically, if I'm not at work, I'm either working out, singing, painting, or reading...or binge watching Friends on Netflix. Never forget Netflix (insert praise-hands emoji).
How has the coffee company changed since you've started working there AND/OR how has the company changed you?
The company has changed a lot about the way I look at retail. It sounds odd, but my perspective really has changed! I've worked in retail many times and I actually never thought I could like it as much as I like this particular job. When it comes to a product like coffee, the amazing people working here, and the in-depth interest cultivated in both, the barrier between work and fun sometimes gets misconstrued.
How have you found taking on the mantle of store manager?
I have found it to be fun! Sure, it can be somewhat stressful at times, but that's the name of the game and I'm the type of person that likes to juggle multiple things at once - I get to be the crazy, busy person that I always am outside of work! Plus, my team deals with my eccentricities so well and always makes me laugh. I love being among such a great group of baristas!