With over 15 years in marketing & communications Joel made a career shift 5 years ago into the food & beverage industry. He brings a design and production management background and a passion for all things craft. Learning the ins & outs through franchise management he then went independent and opened a local craft espresso & whisky retail space in Uptown Waterloo called Death Valley’s Little Brother. During his downtime Joel enjoys hunting and getting out on his motorcycle. He shares insight into running a small business and getting things done in his interview with Ways We Work.
What do you do?
I co-own and manage Death Valley’s Little Brother with my wife. I also continue to do design projects for a few clients.
How do you stay up to date with trends in your industry/field?
Blogs, industry websites, Twitter and Facebook make up the online portion of staying on top of trends but visiting cafes in other cities is pretty important as well to see what others are doing. We were in San Francisco a month ago and saw some great things being done in cafes that I haven’t seen here. We also go to industry trade shows and events to see the latest and greatest for both coffee and whisky.
Best way to stay on top of email?
Delegate. Get co-workers & partners to take on communications if you’re not able to keep up with what’s coming in.
Top five applications or programs?
I still use the basic Adobe creative suite for most of my work along with Excel for most business related financial projections. The LCBO app for iPhone is actually my most used app. It has real time inventory listings of all their products and a GPS for finding specific products at stores. This is really helpful as a licensee.
What is your best time-saving trick?
Taking time away from work and clearing my head. Going on a motorcycle ride for an hour actually allows me to come back and attack work. You can work much more efficiently if your head is clear.
One non-tech thing you can't live without?
Coffee and Whisky… that’s one thing right?
What does your workspace look like?
Our cafe is an eclectic style of re-claimed materials, brick walls, concrete and tin with a lot of low lighting for mood. I have two offices. One is at the coffee shop. It has a lot of natural light and high ceilings and the buzz of the customers in the background. It’s a high energy place so it’s good for getting through tasks that are repetitive. My other office is a renovated attic space in my home. It’s all white from floor to ceiling with a few natural wood elements. This is my quiet space for writing and reviewing bigger ideas.