Melissa Perez

Coffee Break

Melissa Perez

Melissa Perez
Director of digital experience, co-owner, Stone Creek Coffee
422 N. Fifth St., Milwaukee
www.stonecreekcoffee.com
Industry: Coffee roasting
Employees: 119
Family: My husband and two boys, ages six and three

Melissa Perez
Melissa Perez

What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year?

“We moved our organization from a stereotypical hierarchical structure to a team-based structure.”

What’s new at your company?

“We have a new website. You should check it out and then let me know what you think. It’s a living breathing thing to me, and so I am constantly tending to it to help it grow.”

Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?

“Absolutely.”

What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year?

“Improving every touch point of our customers’ user experience.”

What’s the hottest trend in your industry?

“Transparency. This really isn’t new to food with the ‘Farm to Table’ movement, but as a society, we are questioning where everything is coming from – and that’s a great thing! To understand the provenance, as well as the process to get your coffee into your hands, is to truly appreciate the human connections of our industry. You simply cannot make any long-term positive change (economic and/or quality of end product) without this knowledge. Stone Creek calls this ‘Farm to Cup.’”

Do you have a business mantra?

“Never stop learning.”

From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?

“Our company’s co-owner, Eric Resch, hands down. He is the most humble, empathetic and intense individual I have ever met. I first learned about Game Theory in graduate school at the University of Michigan. Eric is one who practices it, as well as teaches it to us, as it applies to business. He also demonstrates when not to use it if it at all hinders the self-preservation of long-term happiness.”

What was the best advice you ever received?

“Own your ‘no’ to save yourself from wasting time.”

What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you in your career?

“In addition to my role at Stone Creek, I’m also a user experience (UX) consultant for Gomoll Research + Design. In the UX field, you conduct a lot of interviews, you talk endlessly with many, and you travel a lot to do field research. There are many surreal moments, and so you look for the bizarre, the odd and the interesting. You collect them. You can’t help yourself if you do UX. There was this one time I had two very different clients. I found myself stomping through deep mud and wet, grassy fields doing research for a handheld device that measured water. I was a mess! The very next day, I flew to San Diego to interview a doctor about his experience using software in this completely gorgeous and modern research lab. I was wearing a pristine lab coat and everything looked futuristic. It is the 180 (degree) juxtaposition that I find funny
and surreal.”

What do you like to do in your free time?

“I enjoy traveling a lot with my family. My husband and I enjoy fly fishing together. I also binge-watch anime when I have a rare indulgent moment.”

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