Lilian Sears, Coffee Corner
Lilian Sears emigrated from El Salvador in 1980, and after several attempts at finding a good job, a friend told her of a job at the Coffee Corner at the Original Farmers Market. She was hired and worked hard for the next 14 years to earn enough money to help her family escape the war torn country. Over the years, she was able to do that and eventually she bought the store from her boss when he retired in 1998. When customers are at the counter, often her children or another close relative will be there to serve them. We recently had a chat with Lilian.
"My favorite coffee is Cafť Latte, which is a shot of espresso with hot milk. But our most popular is Cappuccino, which is stronger but has the same ingredients except on the Cappuccino, the cream foam is on top, and it is less milky.
Whatís most enjoyable about owning the store is being able to deal with our customers everyday. You get to meet new people everyday and get to know them. Itís so much fun. The hardest part of the job is being on my feet all day, especially after 25 years. That part is very tiring.
We have been successful beyond my wildest dreams. Iím putting my kids through college. Even though they have scholarships, it still required some money to help them out. I wouldnít have had that opportunity without the Coffee Corner.
In the old days, before we owned it, we got our muffins and croissants from outside vendors. Now we make them fresh everyday. Itís hard work on top of making the drinks and waiting on customers, but we prepare the batters the night before and our assistant, or I, come in at 5:30 in the morning to bake them. When we bought the store, we added fresh lemonade, brewed iced tea instead of instant like in the old days. Thatís because we offer three types, Passion Fruit, Regular, and Raspberry, made fresh every day. And we have our frozen lattes and mocha drinks. We just added Hawaiian punch.
I have two adult children and an 11 year old. With my older children, itís been wonderful having them work with me. We talk to each other all day long and tell each other everything. When they were little, they were in school and we didnít have as much time together. Itís just so nice to be able to talk with them. And having them work with me, theyíre learning how to deal with a lot of responsibility.
Our 11 year old wanted to work here when he was seven. He wanted to earn some money, so I let him clean up the stand a little bit. Last year, he worked all summer and earned enough money to buy himself a laptop computer. He wants to work here again this summer to earn enough for an Apple. I told him, 'itís going to take a few summers before you can afford that.'
My husband and I have been thinking about how much longer Iíll want to do this and I know I want to do this for at least another 10 years. My husband asked me if I wanted to do anything else and I really thought about it. But I really have only wanted to do what Iím doing. This is my life. I donít see myself doing anything else but being at the stall."
Coffee Corner, open M-F, 9 AM Ė 9 PM, Saturdays, 9 AM to 8 PM, Sundays, 10 AM to 7 PM. 323-938-0278, Stall # 542