There is definitely an art to creating a perfect, steamy cup of frothy cappuccino, but there is also skill involved with making a friendly connection between server and customer. Acre Coffee barista Namiko Morales demonstrates both those talents and has earned the title of Service Person of the Week.
A graduate of Sonoma Valley High School, Morales was trained to make espresso and espresso drinks while working at Sunflower Caff?in Sonoma. She instantly loved the combination of "pulling a good shot and providing good customer service," said Morales.
She came to work for Acre Coffee in Petaluma when it first opened on Fourth Street in Nov. 2011.
"I worked at Acre for a year, then returned to Sonoma to work at a Mexican restaurant for a while," said Morales, who lives in Santa Rosa. "Then I decided I really wanted to get back into coffee. I missed the Petaluma community and co-workers. I felt the culture at Acre was a much better fit for me, so I came back."
Morales said that it is the clientele and the friendships made through her work at Acre Coffee that make her job enjoyable.
"You get to know your customers, and they appreciate that," she said. "Good customer service is about making those small connections. When they come in for coffee and you're always smiling and friendly, people just feel much more comfortable."
Acre Coffee customer Lynn Frisbie said, "Namiko is funny, always remembers your name and gets your order to you with a smile no matter how busy she is."
Morales is the second nominee to be named Service Person of the Week. LeRoy Hairston, a server at Hallie's Diner, was last week's winner.
A total of five nominees will be chosen at Service Person of the Week. Then, beginning Feb. 27, readers will vote on which one should be crowned Service Person of the Year.
The winner will be honored in the Argus-Courier and at the 2014 Petaluma Community Awards of Excellence on March 27.
Service Person of the Week nominations can cover all aspects of the service industry from coffee shops to grocery stores, but should not include business owners, managers, supervisors, directors or those in charge of departments.
Email Service Person of the Week nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org or use the coupon on this page to mail nominations to: Service Person of the Year, Petaluma Argus-Courier, P.O. Box 750308, Petaluma 94975 or drop it by the Argus-Courier office at 719C Southpoint Blvd. No phone calls please.