We had the good fortune of connecting with Crystal Jones and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Crystal, what do you attribute your success to?
Business is complex and it is nearly impossible to choose just one thing as the most important factor in the success of the business. Owning and managing a business can be overwhelming, maddening and amazing all at the same time. The last 5 months have been challenging to say the least. It’s scary to run a business with the intention of success and the possibility of closure on a daily basis. It has been an emotional rollercoaster for sure but I guess that’s just the way of business during a pandemic. One big thing I’ve realized during this time is that relationships are more important than ever. I’ve always told my employees to be authentic, be real. You can find rehearsed kindness anywhere. Not at Industrial Grind Coffee. We take the time to have the conversations, listen to the stories, get to know the customers, shoot the shit, whatever it takes to build that connection. These last few months have allowed me to know my customers in a way I never thought possible. And, crazily enough, they know a whole lot more about me now too. I once read that everyone’s favorite word is their own name and one of the best things you can do is to remember it. So, I do my very best to learn everybody’s name and use it every time I see them. My employees do the same. Have you ever walked into a place of business and been greeted with your name? How did it make you feel? Appreciated? Welcome? Important? It’s such a small gesture that can really set the tone for someone’s day. So if I had to give 1 teenie tiny piece of advice on having a successful business it would be that. Regardless of the business you’re in, take the time, learn the names and use them.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My aunts always had the dream of opening a coffee shop and I always wanted my own bakery. My Aunt Kathy and I actually went to culinary school at the same time. So when they asked if I wanted to come on board, I never realized what a perfect setup it would be for me. I get to apply my management and retail experience from when I was younger, but I also get the freedom to create and the choice to do the things I love doing. We also got to create a space with a sense of community where everyone is welcome. I think thats something that sets us apart for sure. We roasted our coffee for years but I realized it’s something I never really enjoyed doing. Now we buy our coffee from other small family owned roasters who roast very similarly to how we did. That’s a win win to me. Small businesses need our support, especially right now. We not only make delicious coffee, we also make almost all of our drink flavor powders, too. Creating in the kitchen is one of my favorite things to do so I’m constantly coming up with new pastry and chocolate recipes (yep, we bake in house). Those are at the top of my list in terms of loving what I do. We originally started in a little outdoor coffee cart in Hillcrest and grew from there, opening a commercial kitchen in Santee, our current shop in Tierrasanta, and another location in Hillcrest. We’ve been in business 9 years now and getting to where we’re currently at was definitely not easy. Every new experience comes with a lesson and we apply all those lessons in our current shop. I’ve been running this business for so long now that sometimes it’s hard to put lessons into words. It’s easy to get so used to where I am now, I kind of forget the battle it took to get here. Nowadays the shop runs like butter and sometimes, when things seem too easy, I have to remind myself that we went through years of challenges so maybe easy is just fine. A new challenge will present itself soon enough. Over the years we’ve expanded from 1 location to 4 and then condensed back down to 1. In the beginning, I thought we would expand across the country because that always seems to be the desire, right? Bigger, better, more. But I’ve realized that I really enjoy working at 1 location every day so at this point, we have no plans to expand to more locations. Business ownership isn’t easy but I wouldn’t rather do anything else, and if it’s something you think you want to do, go for it. Be smart, follow your gut, put in the work and anything is possible. You gotta have grit to be in business for yourself and you can’t be afraid of work, constant work. The success of your business lands on your shoulders so they better be strong. And if you are just in the market for a conversation, a cup of coffee and the best chocolate chip cookie ever, we got you!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Thankfully my best friend lives in San Diego and works for me so I get to see her all the time. We are foodies (we went to the same culinary school) so any new and unique restaurant would be on the list of places to visit for sure. It’s been quite a while since I’ve eaten out because of the virus madness. I can’t wait to go out to eat, sit inside the restaurant and have a blast (and maybe a glass of wine too)! Some of my favorite spots are La Jolla Beach, Balboa Park, Mission Trails and the San Diego Zoo but I know there’s way too many other good ones to list.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Many people have had a part in the success of the business. My aunts, who started it all, brought me on board and let me run free with it. My employees, the good, the bad and the dedicated, amazing ones I have now. Friends and family, who have helped with everything from broken pipes to marketing to being my shoulder to cry on. Of course, I have some of the best customers you’ll find anywhere. Some of them have even been with us from the very beginning. I wouldn’t have a business if not for their support and loyalty. I appreciate each and every person who has supported us along the way as well as the lessons I’ve learned through them.
Crystal Jones Jenn Bizjak Rachael Rowan Hastings