know your front-of-the-house manager: Laura Meyers

Laura.jpg

Yep. Front-of-the-House manager. Those of you in the service industry are well acquainted with the term, but those of you who have never been a server/chef/bartender/restaurant worker are probably unfamiliar with the phrase because it hardly is ever used out of our little service world.

The Front-of-the-House manager oversees all operations that don’t have anything to do with preparation of food (or beverage, in our case). She manages the staff, handles all special events, schedules the entertainment and pretty much just makes sure that everything you see is running properly. It’s a big job, and one that is perfectly suited for Laura Meyers.

She grew up in Englewood, Colorado, and then lived in Tucson, Arizona, then Brookings, South Dakota, then Northern Wisconsin, then back to Colorado, then London, then Spearfish, South Dakota, then San Francisco and then Northfield.

“We moved once when I was growing up, but Englewood was the longest I’ve lived anywhere,” she said. “Since then I moved every two years until we got to Northfield.”

The other half of that “we,” of course, is her husband Derek, and the two of them make up 50% of the Imminent Brewing Ownership group. The couple have been in Northfield since the fall of 2013, but their roots to the area are deeper than that. Her brother has lived around here for quite some time (which is, in fact, one of the reasons she transferred from the University of Arizona to South Dakota State in 2004). While living in London, the two were in Northfield to be with family at Christmastime, when Derek popped the question. Laura, obviously, said yes.

This is where things get interesting.

Laura had been living in London for over a year and was unable to find a job because she didn’t have the proper visa. Derek, in London pursuing a PhD at the London School of Economics (we’ll get to that in a later post) had an idea about that.

“Derek said, ‘We should just get married now. Because then you can come back to England with me on a visa, and you could find a real job.’ We thought we were going to be there for another three years for Derek to finish, so we decided to just do it.

“So we got married, officially, in Faribault at the Rice County Courthouse in early 2010. My brother and sister-in-law were there as witnesses.

“And then we celebrated afterwards at El Tequila.”

The perfect Northfield marriage: practical, yet spur-of-the-moment; hopelessly romantic, but celebrated in jeans over tacos and margaritas.

It’s almost like they were destined to run one of Northfield’s most popular establishments.

Laura really is the perfect person to be the public’s point of contact for Imminent. While she will quietly debate her popularity, there is no doubt that everybody who knows her adores her. People just kind of love Laura Meyers. Among the reasons for that is her love of community and her desire to make the world a little bit easier for everyone.

“I really love people and I love taking care of people,” she said. “What I enjoy the most is doing events here for the community or working with somebody who is going to put that on. Working with the musicians is fun. It’s definitely stretching an edge for me because I’m not super familiar with that world. But for me this place has been as much about the space and the atmosphere that we’re creating as it is about serving good beer.”

The special events have, in fact, been a distinct point of pride for her.

“The joy for me comes from somebody walking in here and saying ‘I want to do this thing. Like, could I play music in your space, or could we do yoga in your space. Could we have an event here and celebrate so-and-so’s retirement or birthday, or We want to raise funds for this thing we want to do in the community.’ To me, creating a space for connecting with people to come together to do really good things is what this is all about for me. We want to leave the world a better place than we found it, so let’s try to give each other a little bit of kindness and generosity. Let’s give people some joy, because nobody is going to remember how much money you made, but they might remember that there was this really cool place where we got to go and hang out with our friends and make some new ones. Our friends were there, our family was there, our dogs were there, and there was really cool music, and we got to drink really good beer and eat good food.

“The thing we want,” she continued, “is to have a space that is warm and inviting to everybody. So for all of that stuff to come together, that’s what I love about doing this.”