It truly is crazy how many stories you’ll hear about the connections between people in the Maple Street family, and my Maple Street story is just one more. I grew up in Jacksonville but was living with my wife Betsy in Nashville, Tennessee and had come home to visit family and all they could talk about was this new biscuit restaurant in Murray Hill. So, being the ‘foodies’ that we think we are, we had to try what everyone was raving about. From the moment we walked into the Murray Hill community store we fell in love. The food, the coffee, the atmosphere; none of it disappointed. We loved it so much we came back the next day, and the day after that. Maple Street was quickly a MUST of every trip home and even led to some day trips to Chattanooga, just for Maple Street.
During one of our first visits to Maple Street, I recognized a familiar face, that of Michael Burden. Michael and I had worked together for a few years before Michael became a part of the Maple Street family. As we were catching up, Michael told me about the amazing culture and mission of Maple Street, how different it really was working for Mr. Moore and Maple Street, and how much he loved working there. Michael’s words stuck with me a long time, over 2 years to be exact.
2 years later, I was soul searching and really looking for a change in my work. I wanted to be a part of a place I could truly sink my passion for people and food into. I had been working in the restaurant industry for several years and had fallen in love with the people side of the business. While on a trip home for my sister’s wedding, sitting in the Murray Hill Community store once again, the thought crossed my mind that maybe Maple Street was what I had been looking for all along.
So, I reached out to my good friend Michael.
As life sometimes goes, my Maple Street journey did not go exactly has he expected. When I began the process of becoming a Community Leader, it was with the intention of opening a community store in Nashville back in 2017, but the business just didn’t allow that to happen at the time. We had fallen in love with the Maple Street brand and knew we just had to be a part of it. So, when they told us Nashville was not going to happen for some time, and they asked us if we would move to another community to help start a different store, we couldn’t say no. My wife and I packed up our life and headed east to Johnson City, Tennessee. We opened our first Community Store in December of 2017. We still look back on that decision knowing it was one of the easiest decisions and one of the best decisions we have made as a family to date.
In February 2019 we welcomed our daughter, Nora Kay, into the world and decided it was time we moved back to be around family. We were offered the opportunity to move back to Jacksonville and run the Julington Creek community store. And in 2020 of all years, my dream of opening a community store in Nashville Tennessee became a reality. It took some time, but I can literally tell my guests and team, that I am living the dream. I am so excited to be here and cannot wait to see where else this journey will go for myself and the Berry Hill team.