Maya, let me (Marie) just say that happiness and gratitude fill my heart as we celebrate your ninth anniversary at Southgate Coins. Your support and team spirit give Rusty and me strength to forge ahead as we make the final effort to transition into a new direction for our business.
In recent years, you have become such a big part of my life because of how comfortable I feel around you, how easy you make it for me to talk with you, and how much you encourage me by … well … just being there for me. Every Tuesday, for example, when you return from your days off, I look forward to catching up with you on everything that’s happened in your life and in our business. And then on Saturdays, when I take one of my days off, I always enjoy calling you at the shop at 2:45 in the afternoon to see how things are going with you and Rusty. When Mondays come, I feel a void in my heart, knowing that you won’t be with me at the shop. I not only miss you because you aren’t there on Monday to take care of the duties that I depend so much on you to perform (did I mention the lost package worth $13,000 it took you one whole Tuesday to track down?), but mostly I miss you because I enjoy your company. Over the years, I think we have become a great team. When we work together, on big tasks and small tasks, in serving customers, in answering phone callers’ questions, and in all things, everything just seems easier to me; and we always seem to make progress in figuring out the best ways to accomplish projects.
And only you and I and Rusty will ever know the magnitude of some of those projects. How can we ever forget what we accomplished in 2015? It seemed like that whole year was taken up by the clearing out of the northeast quadrant of our building, which includes the sections we affectionately refer to as “the igloo” and “Jamaica,” as well as the packing area.
You were there with me when we started 2015 by shipping out many bags that each contained either 1,000 Eisenhower or 1,000 Susan B. Anthony dollars. We went on to break down hundreds of boxes that were packed tightly on the rows of storage shelves that lined the back walls, never knowing what we’d find inside, because the labels on the boxes gave no clues as to the boxes’ contents. Will you ever forget the tall stacks of Proof sets, commemorative sets, and Mint sets, and the piles of file boxes that covered the floor of the igloo? I remember the day when we actually saw the carpet on the floor for the first time in years, and, in celebration, took a picture of the empty space! We persevered relentlessly for the rest of the year as we continued our clutter-reduction campaign. And then, on the last day of the year before we closed for our New Year’s break, we worked vigorously in the igloo so we could fulfill our pledge to clear out the northeast quadrant by the end of 2015. Do you remember how we could hear our voices echoing in that empty part of the building when we were done? The heaps of clutter were no longer there to muffle sounds. The cavernous echoing was a sweet sound to our ears, and really gave us a sense of accomplishment. I don’t know what I would have done if you hadn’t been there to help me through the entire process.
You returned as 2016 began, and together we held fast to the same determination and purpose that carried us through 2015. With you there by my side, we packed up the rest of Rusty’s massive library, the boxes of which you so meticulously labeled, and then, with the help of your husband Matt and our trusted assistant Blas, we moved out dozens of heavy boxes filled with books, and half a U-Haul truck of large bookcases. Two weeks later, this time with the help of Jeremy and Nathaniel, we moved desks and other office furniture out of the store. This was all done in January, our first month back in the new year! Rusty and I can only thank God for you being there with us, and for sending true helpers like Matt, Blas, Jeremy, and Nathaniel to assist us.
In February we began tackling the hundreds of Whitman and Dansco folders full of U.S. coins that surround us everywhere we look: in the showroom, around the buying desk, in the hallways. What would I do if you weren’t here to help me organize and process all of them? I would collapse. You assist me as you have always done, because it is part of your job. But what you do for me goes way beyond an employer-employee relationship. Your efforts on my behalf (and Rusty’s) come from a true friendship that has developed between us over the past nine years. I never feel like I’m working with an employee when I’m working with you; I feel as if I’m working with a very good friend.
Every time you haul another carload of cardboard (where did it all come from?) to the recycling bin, every time you pack up another box to send to one of our wholesale customers (“each box we ship is another box that won’t clutter up our store,” we keep saying to ourselves), and every album of coins we break down and sort, is a victory for us. You are faithful to these tasks Maya, both as a loyal and dedicated employee and as a friend who knows what we need to do to accomplish our goal by the end of 2016. We all keep each other going. Rusty was right, when he said that as we see progress it inspires us to stay the course; because we believe we will prevail.
Thank you Maya for your loyalty and dedication. Thank you also for giving me a sense that you understand me. That might sound simple, but it is a rare occurrence in life. I only hope that I will be able to return this gift to you, and that we will have many more years to share together in friendship and rewarding projects. I am very proud of you, and I love you.
Now here’s Rusty to honor you in his own way.
Thanks Marie. I think what you have said about Maya and what I am about to say are mutual thoughts we both share.
Maya is a survivor of many hard-fought crises in our business, and she is, in a word, irreplaceable. During her nine years of service at Southgate Coins she has in fact become not only the backbone of our support staff, she is the fullness (the only component) of our support staff. Marie and I depend on her in more ways than I can even begin to mention (I can’t resist mentioning, however, how I always call upon Maya to fix a problem I’m having with Excel or Microsoft Word formatting).
It has brought me great satisfaction to see how Maya has matured as a capable go-to person for many tasks over the past nine years. She has evolved from a state of always having to be told what to say to phone callers asking questions about the value of their coins or the price of a piece of silver or gold, to a confident position of knowing how to supply answers on her own. Likewise, she has become adept at providing excellent customer service to some of our clients (in person in our store, and long distance), even to the point of providing a client with a detailed description, over the phone, of a coin he is contemplating buying from us. Daily, she monitors emails coming from all directions, and whereas once upon a time she would have needed Marie or me to write replies for her to send, she (in most instances) knows exactly how to answer each message.
The knowledge of our business that she now embraces so competently, enables her to browse through a sophisticated online coin dealer message-platform and get buy prices for hundreds of pieces of our bulk inventory. She uses this information to sell this bulk inventory to dealers across the country. In the past two years Maya has packed and shipped dozens (getting into the hundreds) of wholesale orders, as we continue with our quest to liquidate a mass of bulk inventory that has accumulated in our store for decades.
Maya has even learned about foreign coins and paper money and has become our liaison to a major wholesale buyer of this type of material. And the learning process doesn’t stop there. Maya has also become familiar with collectable stamps and stock and bond certificates, and she has coordinated with an auction house that deals in these items to liquidate some of our holdings. And for years Maya has tracked our auction consignments of rare coins, and has maintained spreadsheets so she could prepare reports that show what we have sold in auctions and what the prices realized were.
None of the aforementioned duties were mentioned in the job description when we interviewed Maya, when she was an 18-year-old freshman at the University of Nevada, back in late February 2007. At that time, we saw potential in Maya, but we never could have conceived of her advancing to the point where she is today, let alone staying with us for nine years. No employee that we have ever had has learned anywhere near as much about our business as Maya has learned. No employee has worked for us anywhere near as many years as Maya has worked for us. And no employee has ever shown anywhere near as much dedication, loyalty, and team spirit as Maya has shown us.
The qualities of dedication, loyalty, and team spirit Maya has demonstrated while employed at Southgate Coins are usually associated with strong family-ties. They truly do transcend the typical employer-employee relationship. And this family-like devotion does not end when Maya is off duty. For Maya has even arranged for Marie to hire Maya’s husband Matt to help us with an all-day moving job, during which Marie needed someone she could trust and depend upon. Matt, too, displayed a willingness to help that mirrored his wife’s dedication to us. And whenever Maya has stayed home sick, she has been unlike any employee we have ever had, in that she apologizes sincerely for leaving us without help; and she even calls Marie to update her on her recovery time and ask if Marie has any questions about any of Maya’s pending projects. By doing these things, from her sick bed, Maya demonstrates her concern about us and her devotion to us. We couldn’t ask for anything more.
Recently, Maya showed her regard for Marie’s and my needs at the store when, instead of taking time off during a crucial period in our business, she arranged for her husband to take time off from his job so he could take their two-and-a-half-year-old son to have eye surgery, and then provide several days of post-surgery care for the little boy. We would have, of course, given Maya the time off for such a critical family event, but we are grateful to Maya and her husband Matt that they devised a plan that allowed Maya to maintain her schedule at our store.
Maya has demonstrated her commitment to us while at the same time raising her daughter (six years old) and her son (two and a half years old) many times since she became a mother for the first time in January 2010. Marie and I know that it is a challenge for Maya to work at her job and at the same time insure that her kids are cared for. The beautiful thing about it is that Maya rarely makes it stressful for us. Even when a babysitter reneges at the last minute on a commitment to watch one of Maya’s kids, Maya scrambles to find a solution so she can arrive at work on time. I felt so sorry one day when Marie told me that a traffic cop gave Maya a speeding ticket that morning, when Maya was pushing the gas pedal a little too hard because a babysitter had showed up late, and Maya didn’t want to be late to work, too. (By the way, Maya arrived on time.)
I remember when we celebrated Maya’s one-year anniversary at Southgate Coins in March 2008 and thinking that it would be nice if she could stay with us for at least one more year. Well, she has exceeded my hopefulness from way back then beyond my wildest dreams. I can’t believe we are wishing Maya a happy ninth anniversary. But I am so grateful we are doing that. As I said at the beginning, she is irreplaceable. How could anyone say anything more about another person?
Thank you Maya, for all you have meant to us during these past nine years.
With much love and appreciation,
Marie and Rusty