Meet Ali Ghambari, the owner of Cherry Street Coffee House with locations across Seattle’s Downtown Core. Cherry Street’s biggest focus, in addition to good food and coffee, is developing a genuine sense of community through the relationships they foster with their customers.

Get to know more about Ali in this week’s Business Spotlight Q&A.

The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

What’s something your customers may not know about you or your business?
This is what I’m passionate about — to build a meaningful community. Making people — making the community — feel magical or next level of focus of going deeper into the relationship. I always talk about “good morning” that makes someone else have a better day. One thing I always use as a metaphor is [a poem] by Rumi. He said, “I’m a particle bursting with energy of love. I have evolved to this shiny object that can illuminate the earth and the sky.” And I feel that love and that particle to that level of realization that happens when your “good morning” is truly meaningful that makes others have a better day. And that is the level that I am always crazy about.

What’s your favorite part about the Cherry Street Coffee House community and why?
 First of all, we have created a beautiful space for people to come and not just get a great product, but the total synergy collectively is so meaningful. It’s in the type of relationship I want to have and product that we serve, spaces that we build — that itself is magical. But for me, I can never see myself retiring in any shape or form because coming to work, I can lose myself in the love of others. Short and sweet connection, and even though you may have a crazy day, you can lose yourself in the love of others because you have established that kind of relationship… Anything that comes to me and moves me, I share it with so many people every day. I just love what I do. I love to be with people.

Why is it important to you and your business that people #SpendLikeItMatters?
The heart of a great community is a small business… When we go spend at, say, my 1st and Cherry location, we have spent over $800,000 [on it], we find the best people to run it, best product to serve. If someone comes in and buys a cup of coffee or sandwich, they really see the value of the gift that we are putting together for them to come and enjoy… Say I live in Kirkland on Market, there’s nothing there. People don’t see each other, they don’t know who their neighbors are. All of a sudden, someone comes and creates this third place that you can go and get an opportunity to meet all your neighbors and other people. And all of a sudden, [they’re] looking forward to getting up in the morning… For me, small businesses have that kind of magic for all of us. 

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