Small Business, Big Life

One of my favorite books is titled, “Small Business, Big Life: Five Steps to Creating a Good Life with your Small Business.” The basic teaching is that no one should ever start a small business in order to grow it into a big business. If you do, you’re missing the point of starting your own business. You definitely don’t want to buy yourself a job with longer hours and less pay. You should grow your business in a way that creates a huge life of leisure for you and your family. I have a dream of vacationing in Jerusalem every summer for four weeks. In fact, if I’m roasting coffee for 10 hours each day for 5 years, I’m a dope and a terrible businessman. In addition, I will also be a terrible father and husband. I am writing this post at 1:00a.m. on a Tuesday morning as I roast coffee. I speak from the experience of having a wonderful growing business about which I am passionate. However, I dream of a bigger life with the growth of Chazzano Coffee.

We didn’t go strawberry picking, but this weekend was better.

I remembered this great book during one of the most wonderful weekends of recent memory. Many of you already know that I am an observant Jew. From Friday evening to Saturday evening, Chazzano Coffee Roasters shuts down.  There is no commerce, no use of money, no deliveries, no coffee roasting. My employees, according to Jewish Law (which I follow), may not do something for Chazzano Coffee that I am not allowed to do. If I’m not allowed to drive on the Sabbath, neither are my employees allowed to drive on the Sabbath for the company. An unique opportunity came about this Memorial Day Weekend 2012. The Sabbath was followed by two days of one of the biggest Jewish Holidays, Shavuot. Therefore, there were three straight days of spending time with my family. I was forced to spend time with my family for three full days.

As observant Jews who do not drive on the Sabbath or holidays, we are isolated synagogue-wise, because the nearest synagogue is 2.5 miles away. However, our favorite synagogue, Congregation Beth Shalom, is over 5 miles away. Do we drive and break Jewish law (for us) but join with our favorite Jewish community? On Friday evening, we had a candid discussion as a family: Should we drive to synagogue because of the distance? In the end, we decided yes and we went to sleep. It would have been the first time, ever, that we drove to synagogue.  But what is worse, staying home and not praying with your community or driving and being part of the community?

In the end, we walked. We walked 5 miles each way…for three days. On Saturday, Sunday, and Monday morning, the three kids, Lisa, and I walked a total of at least 30 miles. It will be one of our best memories. We were living the Big Life. We walked, complained, we talked, we complained. We told jokes, dreamed about building Chazzano Tower in that empty lot on Woodward Avenue. Every couple of miles, someone began to complain, and then cry. But we continued on each day because we did something that we didn’t know that we could. Each morning, we woke up, ate a hearty breakfast, got dressed, and walked 5 miles to synagogue. We discussed our dreams, both awake and asleep. We ran, we ran after each other, we splashed water over our heads. We passed many Chazzano customers in the streets. We walked 1.5 miles up 9 mile rd., at least two miles up Woodward Avenue, and the remainder down Lincoln to the synagogue. We’re healthier, happier, and a healthier family because of our 30 miles of walking. Small business, big life? Check. The Lanzkron-Tamarazo family enjoyed the Big Life, at least for the weekend. How do we keep the party going?