The assistant manager at Pike Place Market's aromatic MarketSpice oversees the store's day-to-day operations.

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What do you do? I am the assistant manager at MarketSpice [in Pike Place Market], which is a purveyor of teas, coffees and spices. We sell bulk spice blends, a huge variety of teas, and whole-bean coffees. I oversee the day-to-day operations of the store, from assisting customers to managing staff, placing orders, managing inventory and creating new products.

How did you learn so much about tea? I learned a lot about tea mostly by drinking it and finding out what I liked! Customers are also a great source of information about tea. Through customer interactions I have found out what appeals to people and what does not in terms of new flavors. Books about tea are, of course, a great resource as well.

What’s a typical day like? A typical day consists mostly of assisting customers. A lot come in knowing what they want, but it is fun to help those that ask for suggestions on a new tea or spice to try. In the slower months, most of my day consists of creating new displays, cleaning and developing new products.
What’s the best part of the job? The best part of the job is meeting people from all over the country, and even the world. This job is highly customer service oriented — it is not uncommon to assist one customer for 30 minutes or more! Helping people find the perfect spices or teas for themselves or as a gift for someone else is really satisfying. I like introducing people to new spices and teas and teaching them how they can use them to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

What surprises people about your job? Probably that it even exists. Most people buy their spices and teas in the grocery store. But myself and my staff truly see ourselves as spice and tea ambassadors. Our specialized knowledge is key for new customers who want to explore the possibilities of unique spices and teas.

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