Trust the Process - Calis's Story

Trust the Process - Calis's Story

I didn’t know, but God was leading me here, to Macon, to Z Beans.

I never expected to end up in Georgia. From 2020 – 2023, I lived in four states:
Arkansas, Illinois, Michigan, and Georgia, in that order. I grew up in Arkansas, so when I was not at college in Illinois, I was back home. After graduating, I got married and moved to Michigan. In January of 2023, my husband was offered a promotion that would relocate us over 800 miles south. So in April, we moved from outside of Detroit, MI, down to little ol’ Macon, GA.

Most everything was unfamiliar: the city, the weather, the churches, our neighbors, the people. Thankfully one thing was the same: my love of coffee. I had no friends in Georgia, and I didn’t like how lonely it felt. I’ve often heard “If you want to have a good friend, be a good friend.” So I decided to do just that. I set out to find a local
coffee shop (because large chains are overrated) and meet someone new that could become a friend!

My first stop was Z Beans at Mercer Village, located right next to a college. One of my favorite places in Illinois (where I went to college) was the small coffee shop next to campus I often visited and later worked at as a barista. What better place to start looking for a favorite coffee place and a new friend?

From the moment I walked in, I liked it. The smell of espresso floating in the air, the hiss of a milk frother, the chatter of patrons mingling in pairs or small groups...finally, there was something familiar in Georgia. I met Eden and Cassidy, two of our current shop leads, during that first visit and claimed a seat nearest the counter to strike up conversation. They answered all my questions about what restaurants they would recommend, local attractions, their favorite Z Beans drinks and snacks, and more. I left with an iced latte and a better understanding of Macon.

Over the course of the next month, I went to Mercer Village and the Downtown shop multiple times and became friends with Eden, meeting up after work to go to the dog park with her dog Winston. I knew after my third visit to Mercer Village that I wanted to work there. After working a corporate desk job in Michigan, the experience was not one I wanted to repeat. As I already had barista experience—having worked as a barista during college and through the Covid shutdown—I knew it would require learning new things but also building back up familiar habits and techniques. Being a barista wouldn’t be permanent; I just wanted a part time job to get acclimated to Georgia and look for a smaller company with a vision I could believe in and support.

At the time, I didn’t know that would be Z Beans.

I started working as a barista in May of 2023, roughly a month after moving to Georgia. During my five months as a barista, I met Mary Kathryn and Max at the Mercer Village shop, Carter at the Downtown shop, and Ben at the Coliseum Hospital kiosk. I didn’t meet Shane until September and was definitely intimidated by him—what business major wouldn’t be impressed by an entrepreneur less than 30 years old with an international business and four coffee shop locations! All of the Chief Officers were down-to-earth, personable, and friendly. I came to love the company culture, where everyone genuinely cared about each other. I would be sad to eventually leave it.

In October, Max approached me about my career plans, and I was frank with him about how being a barista was short-term and I would eventually start looking for a permanent position with a career trajectory. The next week, I met one-on-one with Max and Shane about the new position of Business Development Manager. I didn’t expect them to offer it to me. But from that one conversation, I could tell that they were fully bought in to Z Beans, and they truly believed I would be good in the position and that they wanted me to accept!

Transitioning from barista to Business Development Manager would have been very difficult without assistance or training. Thankfully, Z Beans has a fantastic team of
people leading the charge, and I am so grateful to work alongside them now.

Working as a manager taught me so much about our wholesale side, our history, and the far-reaching impact of Z Beans. It was a short, but busy—and valuable—three months between becoming Business Development Manager and accepting the chair of Chief Sales Officer.

Being a Chief-anything was never in my plan, never something I wanted for myself or to seek out. In the Bible, Esther never expected to be queen of Persia; she stepped up because it was needed. Becoming CSO was the unexpected next step for me. Growing up, my dad always said, “Best attitude, best effort.” He taught my older brother and I to approach each challenge and each day with the mindset that you might not be perfect or the best, but you still give it your all and stay positive.

I didn’t know, but God was leading me here, to Macon, to Z Beans. It’s been a whirlwind adventure of a year, and I don’t know what the next 12 months will hold! But I have great friends and a strong team I am fortunate to work alongside every day. Even on the rougher days, I am glad to be doing what I am and reaching people across Macon and the rest of Georgia.

See all articles in The Z Beans Stories


Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.