How happy it makes me (Marie) to congratulate Maya on her seventh anniversary here at Southgate Coins. In prior years I have reminisced about how she has developed from a girl into a wife and a mom, and I also mentioned that she has always been a wonderful friend to me with a sharp sense of humor, which I thoroughly enjoy. Just knowing that Maya will meet me at the store each morning brings me comfort because she gives me the support I need to carry on. And, as I’ve stated so many times, she’s also become very proficient in so many areas of the day-to-day operations in our business, and I depend on her for so many things.
This year we are involved in another big project to enhance our business, which Rusty will elaborate on in his portion of this tribute. I know that Maya is excited about this new endeavor, and I know that it has really challenged her. Nothing brings me more pleasure than when I see Maya catch sight of Rusty’s vision (whatever it might be) and then work with him to bring it to fruition.
Over the years Maya has acquired so many skills related to our business, including numismatic research and education, photography, publishing, lecturing, designing, marketing, just to name a few. She’s been exposed to so many things and been able to be part of an exciting creative environment that affords her the opportunity to experience daily doses of variety, beyond the scope of what most girls in her age group ever encounter. Her understanding, grasp, and knowledge base of all of these different aspects of our business have grown with each year.
I look forward to writing many more tributes to Maya in the years to come. She is a generous person, kind, and very accepting of people. She’s become such a nice grown-up, if I might put it that way. I consider her a part of our family and I love her with all my heart.
Now here’s Rusty to add his take on what Maya means to us.
When Maya began working at Southgate Coins seven years ago, she had nothing in her background that would have indicated she would make a career (or at least a sustained run at a career) out of the rare coin industry. Her only experience with handling money in a public setting prior to March 7, 2007, was her job as a part-time bank teller (little did she know that she would one day learn how much the occasional $500 bills that came into the bank, and the 90% silver coins people would unknowingly deposit were worth). Other than that, she had worked as a part-time helper at an animal hospital (she knew lots more about cats, dogs, and ferrets than she ever dreamed of knowing about High Reliefs, Without Arrows dimes, and GSA dollars). She, like all of the numerous other college students Marie and I have employed over the past several decades, viewed her position as a coin shop assistant as a temporary one that would end upon graduation from the university, or until another more interesting job came along.
Marie and I find it hard to imagine what running our business would be like without Maya. During the two maternity leaves Maya has taken during her employment with us (giving birth to Embry in January 2010 and Matthew in June 2013), we’ve gotten a feel for what it would be like. Her absence left a noticeable void both times. And those happened when we had other employees to fill in for her (sometimes as many as four). For the past eight months, Maya has been our only employee. Marie and I got to the point where it discouraged us too much to hire and train new girls only to see them become burdens to us or quit unexpectedly. With Maya working full time and committed to us, gratefully, for the long haul, we have kept our business running in full motion and are confident that we will continue to do so. This is an indisputable testimony of what a vital role Maya plays in our business plan.
Maya never took any courses in school that would give her skill sets deemed valuable in a coin shop (with the exception of typing, and possibly some other training at the bank such as counting cash). If she had prepared for her occupation at our store, by taking classes in coin grading, appraising of rare collectibles, trading gold and silver, sales, advertising, public relations, and a host of other applicable core studies, she would be practically ready to take over our business by now (with us as her partners, of course). For the past seven years, though, she has received on-the-job training in these areas and many others, putting her far ahead of the majority of coin shop apprentices across the country. Her enthusiasm shines forth every day, and she regularly conveys it to visitors to our store, and people calling from all parts of the country. Not to mention all of the email correspondence she’s involved with. Maya has made up for her lack of formal training by constantly soaking up what we teach her like a sponge. As a result, she has made herself valuable to our company.
As she celebrates her seventh anniversary at Southgate Coins and enters into her eighth year with us (gosh, I can’t believe that this will be almost one third of her life thus far), Maya will help us take a giant leap forward as we launch a new website. Ever since her first day as a Southgate girl, she has known the frustration that operating a website (with all of its glitches, snags, and complications and with no competent persons to help us) has caused us.
After the last so-called web developer guru with whom we contracted took our $200 just to show us her mediocre plan, and Maya told her how amateurish it looked, the “expert” told Maya we ought to build our own website. So, we took the challenge, and Maya has been diligently at work for the past few weeks creating what we hope will usher us into the modern age of cyberspace. This project, when accomplished, will add one more area of know-how to Maya’s curriculum vitae. I can’t read Maya’s mind, but I have to believe that achievements like this, of which there have been many during her years with us, make her feel pride. At the very least, I hope she can honestly say that there’s rarely a boring day at Southgate Coins.
Maya, even if you didn’t bring any skills, any expertise, or any formal training in our field to your position at our business, you bring yourself. You show Marie and me every day you’re at work just how devoted you are to us. Like I said, we can’t imagine what it would be like without you. And now, of course, with seven years of service and the accumulation of knowledge of what our business is all about, you offer so much more than a body sitting in Jamaica or Italy or patrolling the front showroom. Loyalty, support, and know-how: what a winning combination!
Now hurry up and get our new website up and running so we can post this tribute to you as one of the very first weblogs on it, so we can tell the whole world how much you mean to us.
With gratitude from our hearts,
Marie and Rusty