Every once in a while, you meet people who love others and value kindness more than making money.
In other words, they have found the perfect job for themselves, the job they would do whether they were getting paid or not. I found some people like that. This is a family-owned business — a mother and son operation. They are funny, generous, hard-working and community oriented.
All you need to do is walk into Champion Grocery one time and you will see what I mean. The first thing you will notice when you enter the store is the vast collection of Seahawks gear. The fun part is, the whole display is made up of gifts. Customers come in and want to give back, so they remember these wonderful people when they see the blue and lime green gear and donate items to the display.
The next thing you will notice is the fun way in which they interact with everyone who walks in the door. If you are having a bad day, go in the store. You can’t help but put a smile on your face when they joke with one another about how one does all the work, or how the liquid sunshine will help us grow.
As many of you know by now, I have an adult child who lives with autism. He is a big guy, rather intimidating at times, but very lovable. Often after we work out at the gym, I will take my son to Champion Grocery to stock up on some items for the pantry. The second he walks in the door, he grabs a package of chips and digs in. I know I will be buying a bunch of things, so I add it to the pile, but the owners will never let me pay for that bag. They always want to give Gregory something when he comes to the store. They are pretty adamant about it. I continue to try, but the two of them are partners and collectively, they don’t let that happen.
As you see customers walk in the door, you quickly realize these people are not just shopping. They are coming out to see their friends. I see someone invite the owners to a community event they are having. I see someone else come in and say, “I have been shopping here for over 20 years. They have watched my children grow up.”
I was buying chips for an entire team of 65 girls, and as we got to the car, because the Champion Grocery duo insist on bringing my groceries out for me, I realized that I had only picked up four cases and I meant to pick up five.
He said, “I will be right back with the other case.”
I tried to pay for it, but again, they refused. They maintained that it was a good cause and that they wanted to help make the day special for this team. It feels a little like being in a small town, where neighbors meet and share how their day is going. What a relief in this world of crazy politics and stress. Thank you, Jim, for reminding us what matters most.
Amy McOmber is a 23-year resident of Sammamish.