Steal her secrets series: West Michigan coffee shop owner answers 25 career questions

Steal her secrets.
Credit: Sue Cramer

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV)- Her suit fits just right, she knows everyone in the room and you can just tell she’s got it going on!  You wish you could be her or simply wish you knew her secret to success.  WOTV 4 Women wants to give you a deeper look at the many power women who are helping make West Michigan a thriving place for women at work.  We’re having them dish the details on everything from work life to home life and what has led to their career success.

25 Questions with Sue Cramer

Credit: Sue Kramer Pictured: Sue with grandkids
Credit: Sue Cramer
Pictured: Sue with grandkids

Meet Sue Cramer. She’s the owner of Mezzo Coffee House in Otsego.  While she’s normally busy running this local West Michigan business while juggling life as a mom, there’s a lot more to know about this power woman and her career.

Question 1: Describe your job and why you love it.

I own Mezzo Coffee House in downtown Otsego. I love this job because I get to be surrounded by people, laughter, coffee, and stories.

Question 2: Dig through your purse and tell us three must have items you found and 1 item you were surprised to find.

Pens, cough drops, business cards, and a gift card for a pedicure that I forgot I had.

Question 3: When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?

A cosmetologist. Now my daughter is one.

Question 4: What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?

The people you step on to climb the ladder of success are the same ones you will pass on your way down so don’t use people to be successful, use your skills and passions.

Question 5: What’s the job you’ve had (in your lifetime) that still gives you nightmares?

I was a receptionist at a bus company back in the 80’s. The people were horrible and the place was dingy.

Question 6: What’s the best thing you’ve done to advance your career?

Be honest with people and don’t try to become something I am not just to impress someone else.

Question 7: Flats or heels?

Sigh. I love heels but they don’t love me. Mostly flats.

Question 8: Crying at work? Okay or not okay?

Depends. If it’s because I am upset about something in my personal life: not okay. Work is not the place for me to fall apart. But, there are many times that a customer will share their story with me and I’ve teared up right along with them. Compassion is what connects us, I’ll weap with those who weap…though I may walk us into a private room.

Question 9: Work/life balance? How do you make it work? What time do you “clock out”?

Ha. Still figuring this out. I have 4 kids ages 12-28 years old and was a stay at home mom for over 26 years. I still have a 12 year old at home and struggle to find the balance. I do try to make sure that I pick her up from school every day and I close the shop on Sundays so I have a full day off to be with family. Small business owners are never quite “clocked out.”

Question 10: Eating lunch at your desk? A do or a don’t?

I rarely sit for lunch. I’m usually grabbing bites of something in between customers or batches of scones that I’m cooking. Often I wait until I leave at 2pm to pick up my daughter and have something in the car.

Question 11: What makes you grateful?

God, my husband, my family, and my friends. In business I’m grateful for the times that I see how my coffee shop connects people and gives them a place to share life together.

Question 12: What was your biggest blunder in a job interview? What did it teach you?

When I was much younger I applied for a retail position at a store in North Kent Mall. The manager asked me to pick out an outfit in the store that I had purchased for myself. I told her that because of my height (5’9″) most of the clothes there didn’t fit me. I didn’t get the job.

Question 13: Describe your morning routine.

On work days I’m up around 5:00 AM, brush teeth, throw on a little makeup and a hat and I’m out the door to go bake and make coffee for our community.

Question 14: Proudest career moment to date.

Our ribbon cutting in June of 2015.

Question 15: What’s the most important thing in your life right now?

Navigating the success of the coffee shop while still being there for my family and staying connected to the people I love.

Question 16: What time did you wake up today?

5:00 AM on workdays when I’m opening, 6:00AM when I take my daughter to school.

Question 17: What’s the first thing you notice when you meet someone?

Their facial expression. I’m always reading people.

Question 18: What are you reading right now?

“Present Over Perfect” by Shauna Niequist Actually I’m listening to it, over and over. I prefer audio books so I can listen when I’m in the car or when I’m back in the kitchen at Mezzo baking. I HIGHLY recommend this book!

Question 19: In a typical day how many emails do you answer?

Not enough. Probably 15-20 actually get answered on a good day.

Question 20: What’s your favorite TV show?

I’m kind of a newsaholic. I watch several different national networks because I don’t feel that any one of them gives an unbiased view. I also love Jimmy Fallon so we record The Tonight Show and watch it the following evening before bed because we rarely stay up late enough to see it live.

Question 21: What’s your favorite spot for a meeting in West Michigan?

Mezzo Coffee House of course! For evening dinner meetings I love “Four Roses” in Plainwell.

Question 22: What’s your favorite app?

Shopkeep Pocket App. I love being able to check and see how busy the shop is when I’m not there.

Question 23: What experience in life made you the most nervous?

I’ve spoken at a lot of women’s events and been on the radio with Tommy and Brook on Star 105.7, but the thing that makes me most nervous is when my kids are presenting or performing. I’m a wreck if I think they are scared.

Question 24: What’s one question you always ask in an interview?

“Why do you want to work here?” Their motivation for wanting to be there tells me a lot about them.

Question 25: What’s the best part of your job?

It’s hard to pick one thing. I love the freedom we have to create new drinks and food offerings. I love our staff! I love our community and the connections that I get to see happen every day. I love coffee and the culture that it is wrapped in at Mezzo.

Do you know a West Michigan Power woman who deserves to be featured in our series?  Email us her name/business and contact info!

Other women featured in this series!


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West Michigan lawyer answer 25 career questions


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