I met Wendy Neat shortly after Roasters Coffee Cafe “re-opened” in early 2013. I was excited to find out that someone had bought the coffee shop where a few months before I spent a couple of days a week working on my blog and book. Now I had my offsite “office” back.
The new staff immediately impressed me as I began to frequent the coffee shop. Something felt different about the place. I soon met Eric and Wendy Neat. Then I understood.
The Neats have created a family atmosphere in their coffee shop. Over time I have come to feel like a part of this family. I walk in, many staff call me by name or at least greet me with a “I know you” hello. They often ask me if I wanted my medium latte before I say a word. One day I ordered at the drive through window. As soon as I pulled up to place my order the barista cheerfully said, “Hello, want your medium latte?” I just laughed.
It was easy to see the pride Wendy took in running their business. She treated her employees with respect, greeted each customer with a bright smile, and constantly was cleaning around the store, even climbing on top of a counter to dust a sign high on a wall!.
When I was looking for a place for the launch of my first book last summer, Roasters was my first choice. I approached Wendy about the idea which she immediately embraced. It was through that correspondence with Wendy and Eric that I learned their secret (which I already had my suspicion) They were committed Christ followers.
The more time I spent at Roasters, the more I observed their faith in action. So much so that Danielle, my wife, and I decided to visit the church they attend.
My heart sank a couple of months ago when I was told that Wendy had been diagnosed with a rare, aggressive form of cancer. Even though I only know Eric and Wendy from their coffee cafe, I do feel like a part of at least that family.
How Wendy, Eric, and their family have handled her diagnosis and battle only reinforces what I have observed over the past year or so.
Sadness, yes. But joy in the midst of their sorrow.
In everything I have seen them do and all that they are, they reflect who Jesus is. That is refreshing.
I know that the days ahead will be difficult for Eric and his family. But because I am a part their Roasters family, I will pray, cry, uplift, and continue to support them.
Like so many others who knew Wendy, either very well or just through their coffee cafe, I will miss her smile and her transparent love for God and others.
Here is a Facebook post she made on their MyGodisbiggerthancancer page just over a week before she passed:
What a testimony! What a Legacy!