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I was planning to take my own life by hanging myself from the old railroad bridge down the road.  My life and my identity were based on performance:  achievement, accomplishment, doing, & performing were all I knew.  Measurable actions and positive results were the scoreboard, shame was the referee, and public opinion was the fans.

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Growing up in America in the 70’s & 80’s taught me what a ‘man’ was supposed to be.  My formative years were developed by the Marlboro Man, John Rambo and Bruce Springsteen.  “Never let them see your vulnerability”

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“The gold rush was the beginning of the insanity of greed in America” Pioneer, 1849     Gold Fever Living in the eastern sierras, my wife & I have read many stories of the pioneers who got the gold fever and left everything in pursuit of riches out west.  They would pack up perfectly good lives, and travel dangerous roads through treacherous places in hopes that they would strike it rich and have a better life.  These were people who already had good houses in good neighborhoods and were established in society.  Once the “gold fever” hit, they suddenly became...

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coffee roaster, coffeehouse, newhall coffee, revolution, shop small, starbucks -

Less than a year later, the first of over 30 Starbucks moved into my small town. Soon after that, I heard a rumor that a local Starbucks Manager boasted to someone else that Mitch’s Java ‘n Jazz would be out of business within one year.  It was then that I knew this competition was a little different than the competition I faced on a basketball court. This indeed was a lot more serious. I learned a very good lesson about the war between large corporations and small family-owned businesses… and why it is good for America when the little guy fights back!

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coffee roaster, coffeehouse, newhall coffee, shop small, starbucks -

Unbeknownst to me, the battle had just begun with the largest competitor I could ever imagine. A competitor who was doubling in size every few years, on the way to becoming one of the most recognized brands in the world. I had inadvertently and unknowingly declared war on the king of coffee. A daunting task!

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