We had the good fortune of connecting with Suzy Bean and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Suzy, what is the most important factor behind your success?
Respect. We, as a crew, have held space for some human dramas amongst us, but we have done as well as we have by respect. I would say we listen and hear each other, without over-indulging in long stories and “therapy.” But when something emotional in nature in regards to work arises, it is considered important. When I first stepped into purchasing the business, one of the previous owners suggested I not try to become friends with the staff, but maintain boss-ship. I think I understand where she was coming from, and professional boundaries prevent being overly emotional about practical decisions. Fortunately though, I have had a respectful enough crew that we have been able to relax into being friends as well. This makes coming into work feel like the daily life of a tribe rather than an impersonal “grind.” One of my staff even told me last week that when she is down, she is actually uplifted by coming to work. I’m so happy about that.
I think it is important from the position of an owner to not just see the staff as workers, but the human beings that are your equals and peers, that need all of the same things you need. When their needs aren’t met, due to being underpaid or undervalued, it stresses the relationship. And it’s healthy for them to let me know their difficulty with how things are. It gives me the chance to see what I may not be seeing, and communicate and respond as I am able.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
5 years ago, I got the clarity that I wanted to have a little health food store that emphasized local goods, but I was living paycheck to paycheck, had never owned a business, and felt a bit naive moving towards that goal. But I started playing with the idea. I wrote out a mock up business plan, and started talking to people and telling them my goal. I figured I could do something in the next town over as the town I was in was already saturated. Within 6 months, I actually stopped trying, as I felt like I was pretending too much, didn’t have any hope in finding the financial means, and the next town over wasn’t feeling like “my town.” But I stood in my living room and told the universe that if the opportunity arose within the next 20 years, I would be a great candidate, and to please grant me the clarity, support, and means to carry it through.
Another 6 months later, I realized the health food store in town was for sale. My uncle had just passed away, and my chunk of the inheritance was pretty much the down payment. The owners, the brokers, my dad, and who is today my amazing accountant held my hand through the purchase, the projections, new degree of taxes — all of the things I was doing for the first time.
I felt like the red carpet had been rolled out before me!
Each turn in the road has felt equally supported since then. I would say this experience brought me into a new level of trusting my intuition, honoring my heart-guidance, and growing up to deeper responsibility. And I am so grateful to feel I am right where I wish to be, and being put to use on my path.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would take them to: The Local Juicery for vibrant, super yummy, sprouted/organic/from scratch cold pressed juices and mylks; to relax in the outdoor garden at Chocolatree with some honey ginger lemonade; to Conscious Meals for probiotic/organic/from scratch plant-based meals; and Thai Spices for the fish curry! I would take them to the Farmers Market for our community vibe. I would take them to Posse Grounds Park to lay on the grass and throw a frisbee. And of course I would take them to my favorite spots by the creek and in the rocks, but may not mention them here! To me, Sedona is less about the official vortex spots, and more about dropping in anywhere to connect with the land and spirit of the place.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Shoutout to the Interdependence crew!
Facebook: Interdependence Foods
Yelp: Interdependence Foods
Trevor Hawkins, Julie Hudson, Ideana Carrasco, Hank Schwartz, Julie Franklin, Barbara Porter, Ahdona Holland in the staff image.