For the owners of Charmingtons, it’s important to be a business grounded in their community–and that starts with their employees. Cara Dudzic, one of the founders of Charmingtons, opened the café in 2010 with a mission that went beyond serving great coffee. As she describes, she and her team, “Wanted to build something that would be part of the community, and that would be a good place to work. Food service is a tough job that means getting dirty, being on your feet a lot of the time, and sometimes dealing with tough situations—but it’s also an industry where you have the chance to be the best part of somebody’s day.” Cara and partners at Charmingtons understand that their business success, employee well-being, and community impact are all interconnected.
Like many cafes, Charmingtons has to maintain a careful balance of purchasing the highest quality ingredients, managing operating costs, and keeping prices affordable—but it never comes at the expense of their employees. It’s the atmosphere Charmingtons employees create that has made it a staple in the Remington neighborhood. “Half of our staff has been here for years, so that helps with the stability in the community,” Cara explains, “We know a lot of our customers by name. It just feels good when someone working knows exactly how you like your drink, or asks about the project you’re into.”
Cara and partners at Charmingtons know that to keep employees invested, they need to feel invested in. At Charmingtons, they don’t just say they treat their workers with respect, but back it up by providing sustainable incomes, setting schedules several weeks in advance, and offering opportunities to grow and advance with the company. Though they’ve made great strides in creating a great place to work (and have even been recognized by former President Obama for their leadership in championing paid sick leave), Charmingtons knows that there’s always ways they can keep improving, “ ‘Good Business’ isn’t a lifetime status, but a constant goal to strive for.”