There’s this coffee house that I started to frequent many years ago, that I spotted while driving to work one day in Visalia, California. I had Starbucks on my mind, but then I saw Mavericks Coffee House and I pulled into the parking lot. This business won me over on the first day, not just because of the fantastic selection of coffee that they roast on the premises, but because it has a certain charm that felt authentic. Over the years, I saw the owner working with his family all around him, and I personally found that to be something admirable.
For years, I’ve just purchased my coffee, then either headed off to work or sat down to write if I had a morning off. Recently, since becoming a contributor of Dads Round Table, I started to wonder about what it was like to run a business while being a dad at the same time. Jordan Brown, the owner, seemed to make it look easy. So I asked Jordan if I could interview him, and he agreed.
Here’s what Jordan had to say:
I’m going to jump right into what caught my attention the first time I walked into your coffee house: the cowboy theme. You’ve got dozens of movie posters of cowboy movies and at least a hundred photographs of cowboy actors, many of them autographed. Is this a passion of yours? Tell me about the collection, if you can, and why you chose a cowboy theme, including the name of the business?
The idea to open a Western themed shop was mainly due to my upbringing. My dad has been a collector of cowboy memorabilia since I was born, so I grew up with all the past screen legends from John Wayne to Tom Mix. The other reason to have the name and theme is because we are different. The term Mavericks means going against the grain, so to speak, and I think we have achieved that. All of the western movie posters are originals from a forgotten age, and all the autographs are originals as well.
I’ve noticed that you have a family-run business here. Was that the plan from the beginning?
Megan is my wonderful wife of almost 9 years and Beau is our blessing who is 4 years old. The good Lord brought both of them into my life and for that I am eternally grateful. They are the reason I am able to juggle what I do. Having my beautiful wife and son at the shop with me is a fantastic experience. There are not many jobs where you can have your family with you, and I am sure we will look back at this time with great appreciation.
Your child, an infant when I first starting coming here myself as a customer, is growing up with this environment with the rich smell of coffee and the constant flux of customers coming and going. I always thought that seemed pretty special — the chance to have your children with you while you work. What is that like for you? How do you juggle the parental responsibilities with running the business? You come across as someone who’s got that figured out.
There are some struggles of course with worrying about a 4 year old when you’re busy, and there are times he gets a little too excited but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. My wife is wonderful, supportive, and my reason for doing what I do — enough said!
One of the biggest hurdles I have gone through, and biggest blessings, is being born with an exstrophy of the bladder. Basically it is when your bladder is born outside of your body. I have had approximately 26 surgeries to this point, which started when I was a week old. People wonder sometimes how someone can deal with something like this and have a business, and school, but I have been blessed to see my challenges in life physically as something that makes me work harder, push harder, and to not make excuses.
We all have either things we struggle with, disabilities we may have to endure, but it does not need to define us. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made, so why not take a challenge and make it an ally? One thing that has been a huge help in this area is my precious wife. She views me as normal and is the most encouraging person I know, which has carried me through some of the down times I have had due to my physical limitations.
Tell me about what’s happening with you now, aside from life at the coffee house?
I currently am enrolled at San Joaquin College of Law in Clovis, California. I have about 1 year remaining on a 4-year program and then I will have my Juris Doctor in Law. People ask how I have been able to juggle so many things and I can simply say that the Lord, and the wife He gave me, is how I have been able to get through the somewhat difficult program. I had been out of school for about 14 years so it was a struggle going back, especially to such an intensive program, but I have been blessed to continue the schooling and am getting a better grip on how to succeed in law school.
The first year was very trying since I had school 4 nights a week from 6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m., thus I would get home about 10:30 p.m., and then get up at 4:30 a.m. to get to work. It was exhausting and very difficult, but the biggest regret I have is the time I missed from my family. As a father we have a duty to do our best to honor and care for our family the best we can, so that back and forth between trying to pursue a doctorate that can help our family versus the time away will always weigh on me.
Again, my family has been my strength and only the Lord has gotten us through this time. The second year was a little less time constraining and the third year I am currently in is about the same, so there has been a little reprieve which is fantastic for all of us.
With companies like Starbucks being so ubiquitous, is it challenging to compete for business? I imagine, however, that there must be a lot of customers, like myself, who would rather support an independent company than a large chain.
Starbucks is not really competition in a sense. They are so big that competing with them is not even possible and one must actually thank places such as Starbucks because they created this coffee market we currently live in. What Mavericks tries to do is just give people of the San Joaquin Valley an option. Most of the customers who have come in over the years instantly taste the difference, so like I said it’s not really a competition. Local places like ours can survive in a dominated market when you create a product people love and treat them well, which I think we have achieved.
Our customers have been loyal, supportive and friendly. We would be nothing without them. We have created a family atmosphere and we love that. One thing that is important for business owners is that you will encounter people from all walks of life and all different types of beliefs. We have prided ourselves on always respecting people in all walks of life and becoming friends with many people from all over the spectrum. Many people ask me if Mavericks is a Christian shop. I am not sure Christ wants us to label our shops yet — rather our hope is that people see it in our lives and how we treat people instead.
What plans do you have for the future of Mavericks? I was actually glad to see that you’re offering coffee beans for sale online, roasted right here.
The shop has strived to be something Visalia can be proud of. We have been fortunate to receive great reviews on our website, maverickscoffeehouse.com, TripAdvisor, Yelp, and many other sites. We strive to always be fresh by the brew bar system and roasting all of our coffee on site. I currently have about 15,000 roasts under my belt which is how I do what I do — experience. We strive to serve the best mochas, lattes, and iced drinks in the market. We also strive to carry local food products when possible.
This post is not, in any way, a paid advertisement for Mavericks. All opinions expressed are absolutely genuine. So get yourself some coffee if you’re in the Visalia area of California or find them online at Mavericks Coffee House!