I first came to work as a full-time server at Anna Maria Oyster Bar in Cortez in September of 2002. I was in the process of finishing my B.A. in English. Like many people, I was waiting tables until I finished my education to become a teacher.
While I was at the Anna Maria Oyster Bar in Cortez, I experienced something very unique among people in my profession -- care about one's employees. John Horne, as a business owner, really surprised me.
My father passed away during a very busy Friday night (in-season) shift. I had only been working for him for barely six months. At the funeral, everyone kept asking who the largest arrangement of flowers came from. "I had no idea," I said.
When we looked, it said, "From John and the staff at Anna Maria Oyster Bar."
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I was stunned.
I had worked at many other restaurants before, but had never heard of a business owner doing this before. I began teaching full-time some years later, but felt that I could supplement my income by working summers. I was welcomed back with open arms.
My mother passed some years later, and to my surprise, John Horne and Gary Harkness (Cortez managing partner) were in the audience.
I didn't invite them nor did I notify them, yet still they attended my mother's funeral. I was amazed.
I feel that some people may forget what it is to be a "small" business owner sometimes. John's organization, I believe, is a model for other small businesses out there: value your employees; show them compassion; cherish their loyalty, and they will make your business grow.
My last shift for the summer was today, and maybe forever, but I will continue to cherish the business model that John and Gary have established. Thank you, gentleman.
Robert Gratzer, Jr.