Perked up:Coffee shop/Bakery wins chamber awardPublished 7:19pm Thursday, February 6, 2014
By TYLER STOCKS
Washington Daily News
Christina McMiller, a military wife and mother of five turned coffee-shop owner, decided last year that instead of looking for work she would turn her love of coffee into a job.
Her passion and energy for Perfect Perks led to her receiving the 2013 Small Business of the Year award at the Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce’s annual awards banquet Tuesday night.
“It shows that with hard work, a smile, good customer service and a good product, you can achieve the things you need to achieve. In this town people love that,” McMiller said.
“We started last April in kiosks. We actually are pretty surprised, being less than a year old, and doing what we’ve been able to do has been pretty awesome in my opinion,”
McMiller partnered with Rachel Midgette with Rachael K’s Bakery in Washington. The two business owners keep customers perked up by offering fresh artisan bread, North Carolina roasted coffee and scrumptious pastries. Rachael K’s Bakery was also named Small Business of the Year for 2013.
An interest in entrepreneurship, McMiller said, stemmed from her wanting to go to work.
McMiller explains: “I needed a job and was getting bored staying at home. At first, it was just my daughter and myself. Her and I ran the business along with another employee. Oh, my gosh, I don’t bake.
“I sat there with this kitchen and said to myself, I need to find a baker. One of my employees was like, ‘Hey there’s this bread lady at the farmers’ market; you’ve got to go check her out.’ I liked her Facebook page, called her (Midgette) up.
“She was in Walmart, and I was at the hut at the time. She came over, and I was like, ‘This is what I’m planning to do. This is the place I’m planning to do it at. I really need a baker. Can you come look at the kitchen?’” McMiller said.
“It was like a match made in heaven. She puts out a quality product. I went down and purchased five things from her at the farmers’ market. I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh. You’re it,’” McMiller said.
Over time, McMiller said, there is one key reason she has been successful — learning how to manage employees and provide good customer service.
“I was adamant about good customer service. There is never a ‘no’ that comes out of someone’s mouth. We might not have it, but can you special order it. It will be in next week. We are a customer service-based business. There are too many businesses saying no to customers, and they’re losing customers that way, and they’re losing the faith of customers that way,” McMiller said.
During 2014, McMiller has plans to slowly expand to Greenville and offer more menu items, including fresh soups, salads and sandwiches.
“We want to be a step above everyone else and offer the freshest menu items, including soups and salads of the day. We’re still growing, and we hope to grow the Perfect Perks brand more,” she said.
Follow Perfect Perks on Facebook or call 252-402-2552. It is located at 1307 W. 15th St.