At the end of May 2016, I left Eataly Chicago to go back to NYC. This was my first opportunity to build a team of marketers from the ground up and introduce a large population to how I think my craft should be practiced. While at the helm, we grew from being responsible for all salumi and cheese sales and production, to sourcing and marketing a full dairy program, expand our cheese production program, initiate retail seasonal antipasti in house production, and also expanded to run our in house fresh pasta and prepared food production and sales. I say this not to brag. Frankly, any leader worth a damn will tell you that it is the talent of a team’s individuals which actually gets any real work done and products produced. A leader’s job is simply to get them to work together so that each individual can shine brightly, and contribute with the least effort to create the best results. In essence, being fulfilled by your job, insteaf of drained by it. We made this the priority EVERYDAY I was in Chicago. Conversely, the lines of hierarchy became a very low priority. These are the seeds that manifest the market family. Family is not just a buzz word. Family is a safe place where everyone’s talents are too important to sideline for the benefit of an individual ego. Now, I do have a big ego, no doubt! But someone has to be the “Dad” and it was a pleasure seeing each person I worked with grow along with our revenue and operational ambitions. Below is the letter I wrote to all the people who called the Eataly Chicago market home, and specifically the teams I lead. David Malzahn, formerly my first in command, took the helm from me, as was always the plan, and I could not have left that family with a better “Dad”. Below my letter, I have listed the names of the rest of our team and still love and miss them all very much…
As you may know, today is my last day here at Eataly Chicago. I will continue as a helping hand for Eataly, by assisting in launching the new store in the Freedom Tower [the store is actually in Tower 4) in downtown NYC, and then on to manage the Eataly SAFO operations at Eataly Boston. So, feel free to send me a text if you ever have any question you think I may be helpful answering, or (most hopefully) just to say hello.
I have enjoyed building relationships with everyone, and I will miss all of you very much. I love that process of getting to know people at the market. We work in an incredible market, and the most important component of any market is the people that are there on the floor everyday, creating the culture, the environment, curating the products, buying the products, and in some markets (like ours) even consuming the products at the market. Every market is it’s own organism, and in order to thrive, that creature must stay vital, and relevant, but just like any person, the market needs love and must love itself. We the people of the market can help or hurt how our market grows by how we honor commitments, how we honor our product, how we honor our customers, how we honor ourselves, and certainly not least of all , how much we enjoy that process. Good marketers hope never to compromise their relationships, and bad marketers forget that relationships are made with people, not products. You can not appreciate a product without appreciating the person that gave it to you.
I know that sounds a bit sappy, but, if you have come to know me over these past few years, you know that I wouldn’t leave without leaving a part of myself behind. So, besides unfinished lists, a few cheese books, and maybe a couple hats and aprons, I wanted to leave something key to helping me succeed here at Eataly Chicago, in particular a loving respect for the people on the floor engaging customers, making products, talking about products, and making this market bloom with every new day.
All the Best,
Steven Spiewak (Master Pastaio/Chef In Residence)*^
Tim Geistlinger(Cheesemonger/Wine Geek)*^
Ryan Fitz-Gibbon (Cheesemonger)^