“New Starbucks Opens in Rest Room of Existing Starbucks”, that was the hilarious headline of The Onion; the humor magazine, reflecting the opening of a Starbucks in every nook and cranny.
I just returned from a quick trip to one of my favorite cities, Seattle, Washington. I had to visit the original and first Starbucks, at 102 Pike Street which is still in business and is the first of 29,324 stores that have opened worldwide. And a visit to the first Starbucks Reserve Roastery, which is locally known as the Willy Wonka of coffee shops. The last time I visited the Emerald City was over 9 years ago with my workaholic brother, Phil. We took a tourist van with 8 other people who we had never met before and the driver would point out the sights in his loud voice, (since he had no microphone).
Phil didn’t do work-free vacations, and began speaking even louder due to poor service into his then flip mobile phone as he was taking orders from established customers and reviewing menus with his chef for the next party. He was so busy with one call after the other, that either he didn’t see the dirty looks our fellow passengers were giving us or he just didn’t know how to extricate himself from the business calls. He needed to show that the business can operate well in your absence.
According to Mark Tapper in Walk Away Wealthy, taking vacations “…is a terrific way to show that the business can operate well in your absence.” Bottom line is, his business seems like it couldn’t !
The tour stopped at a lake and we were advised to enjoy the area for 30 minutes and return to the van to continue the tour. It was a fantastic scene. With the phone silent we watched wild Pacific Coho salmon swimming upstream on a ladder wall, and boats utilizing a lock system. We were walking back towards the location of the parked van, only to watch it purposefully drive off without us. We were stranded ( It was years before Uber and Lyft).
Luckily a “Good Samaritan” gave us a ride back downtown. The moral of the story; when you are on vacation, be on vacation. According to Tapper, if you are able to take vacations it means you have learned to delegate responsibilities to subordinates with no falloff of production or profits. In fact, he believes that the less time you “spend working at your company the more valuable it will be on the open market”. Prepare your company and take a real vacation because Seattle has so many beautiful sights and natural beauty, you may never want to go indoors.
When you do venture inside, I recommend the Museum of Flight , to see planes from military to civilian. Boeing, began in Seattle 100 years ago, and you would be able to see the first modern commercial plane; the Boeing 247D and also the VC-137C which was used as Air Force One. If your business is connected to nonprofits, you have no doubt looked at GrantWatch.com and seen upwards of 4000 current and available grants including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Grants.
While in Seattle you can actually visit the important Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and visit the Foundation’s Discovery Center to see up-close examples of their extraordinary work, which has spend approximately $5 billion a year on grants.
Also, click on, another nonprofit that does great work in Seattle, the Pike Place Market Foundation, to learn of the Pike Place community garden that fills up the pantry of the local food bank. This volunteer run garden has donated 500 pounds of produce so far this year.
For gluten-free and vegan ice cream made with cashews and coconut milk visit Frankie & Jo’s. I plan to bring my wife there on our next trip. She sorely misses her Carvel.
And finally, the cashier-less Amazon Go store is a step into the future. You can grab something off the shelf, put it in your pocket or purse and exit the store, without getting arrested. No employees, no cash , no credit cards, no cash register. You set up the Amazon Go app, and scan as you enter and let the fun begin.
I’ve learned a lot from my Salmon trip with my brother. A business owners vacation means more than needing a vacation and planning a trip. It is about planning the business’ organization, employee training and management and supervision in spite of the vacation. This will show that the business can operate well in your absence. I am writing this for my readers and for my wife, too, who I want to show the flying Salmon with her iPhone on silent.
About the Author: Jake Tewel holds a Masters Degree from YU, a wine seller, caterer and a million miler for the past 15 years. Jake is a best friend, great neighbor, your go to travel person, father, grandfather and loving husband. He is now focusing his efforts on heart healthy nutrition, exercise and travel.