Today we’d like to introduce you to Nelicia Miranda-Troup.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Nelicia. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
So I started as a barista working at Starbucks and just really enjoyed working in the coffee industry and working with people and customer service. I left because it was just too cooperate with so many rules and I felt like they lost some of their community connections. After that, I decided I wanted to learn a little bit more about coffee and I had some friends working on a little coffee shop in Kona, Hawaii.
So I left Starbucks and went and did some work and studying with my friends in Kona. Where we looked at corporate operate coffee farms and then moved all the way to the other end of the spectrum and looked at some smaller coffee farms with more of a homegrown feel to them. I learned so much just being out there and studying learning about the processes of coffee. I came back home to Denver and worked at a little mom and pop shop in SunnySide and it was fine but something was indeed missing.
In my past, I had been on quite a few mission trips to Africa, Dominican Republic, the Navajo Reservation and things like that just working with different people. I found it’s all about serving and giving back people all people. I came across the Spring Cafe which is designed to for the refugee and immigrant population. The cafe was created as a learning center to help train refugees and immigrants in the barista industry and more than that of the hospitality industry. The cafe teaches a variety of skills, how to give good customer service, working in food production, catering, cash handling. It’s a neat place. It’s a very transitional job. We want to train folks and get them out for bettering paying jobs so that they can continue to do what makes Colorado great in bringing their diversity. (Maybe “bringing their diverse perspective.”
So I found this job and started as a barista and the opportunity to become Cafe manager came a few months later and then the Catering manager soon after. worked my way up to Cafe manager and Catering manager in a matter of months. When I got the Cafe, it was going through under quite a few transitions and changes. Now we run a financially successful catering business and cafe. I have learned so much from the people I’ve trained and worked with. People from all over Burma, Tanzania, Iraq, Israel, Russia, Ethiopia… to name a few. Not only are we supporting the refugee immigrant community but we also serve the homeless folks. Twice a week we go out and give our wraps, salads, sandwiches away down in Civic Center Park and down along 16th street. I think we do a good job of serving the population around us.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I think it hasn’t always been a smooth road. I was trained to be an assistant manager in three training sessions. The manager who hired me needed to leave the cafe due to health. The Cafe was succeeding well under her until she had to leave cafe. The Cafe was very sad to have her leave us. Spring Institute then hired a manager who didn’t know what he was doing and it turned out I was training him and trying to pick up for his lack of enthusiasm and general lack of coffee knowledge. knowledge of coffee. The Spring Institute and all three of my refugee immigrant employees approached me about being the Cafe manager. I didn’t know what I was doing. I felt like I had to learn everything the hard way. However, with the help of my cafe baristas and the Spring Institute and my family, I caught on quickly. I literally could not have done it without the support of family and my baristas who I had been working with as teammates. My baristas really encouraged me and helped me to learn. They never let me forget things and when I did, they were so gracious. I think at that time I realized what a team effort the Cafe is.
Right about the time I was starting to get my feet under me, our catering manager left for another job and I quickly absorbed his job. I felt like a little kid in the swimming pool at the deep end of the pool without any floaties… Ha, there were lots of tears just trying to figure out what I was doing with very little guidance. I had quite a bit of turnover when he left. I had never done any catering, so I was just learning everything on top of being a new cafe manager. To be honest, there were plenty of tears shed. However, I hired and trained and learned studied what catering should look like and then started hiring for a new team. Now my team is excellent now they make everything so much easier!
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Spring Cafe story. Tell us more about the business.
So our company is part of the Spring Institute. We are one of 8 different programs all designed to help refugee immigrants. Our programs are Adult Education, Colorado Welcome Back, Intercultural Training and Consulting, The Interpreter Network, Legal services, Project Shine, Ready Tots and The Spring Cafe.
Each program focuses on something different. The Spring Cafe is a neat place because you can come here and learn about all our different programs and it’s a good meeting place. The Cafe is proud to be part of the Spring Institute. All our programs really do interact with each other. For example, when The Interpreter Network does any training, we provide coffee all day for them and a meeting place for them to come down and study in the cafe. It’s a comfortable place to sit but I think you come for the support to support the refugee immigrant population. Our slogan is Community in Every Cup. Here you are interacting having conversations. It’s a neat place.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Luck… Ha no no luck. I think here I have been surrounded by a team that makes working here fun. My baristas and kitchen staff have made the cafe successful. I am only one person but with my team, we make a difference. Every day just starting people’s days off with a smile and some caffeine. My family has been the difference in success and failure. They have stepped in so many times to help me figure it out volunteering their time to help me with catering to help me work in the kitchen… encouraging me to keep trucking along. Helping me discover and develop new recipes and more efficient ways of doing things. I truly believe that without these two factors my excellent Spring Cafe team and my fabulous and encouraging family that I would have drowned in the deep end of the pool.
- Address: 1373 Grant St Denver CO 80203
- Website: springinstutue.org
- Phone: 303-863-0188×320
- Email: email@example.com