When I was a young boy, 14 years old, I decided it was time to get my first job over the summer. I was fortunate to grow up near the Wentworth by the Sea Hotel on the coast of New Hampshire. They were always looking for summer help to round out their staff. In those days the hotel was only open for the summer and fall seasons so it was a great place for teenagers in the area to work. I was hired to work in the Round Robin Café adjacent to the tennis area and thus my hospitality career began.
Fast forward many years to Calef’s Country Store in Barrington. Although our store is open twelve months a year we also look to add summer staff to our roster. Each year we hire two to three local teenagers and give them a proper introduction to the work force. For most it is their first work experience, some take to it quickly while some need to be taught what it means to be a good employee. This is not a responsibility we take lightly. If we give the new staff the proper training and guidance we set them on the path to becoming a productive worker for life. These skills are not taught in school, some learn it from home but most must get it from their early years in the workforce.
Little is more rewarding than watching our young staff mature and grow as they go through high school and some on to college. Some stay only one season but many come back to work year after year or even stay on part time during the school year. We share their growth, successes and failures along the way. Even more gratifying is that this cycle has been ongoing for generations. Our store has been in business for over 150 years, think of the number of young people who have gotten their start at Calef’s. Several times a year a customer will stop in and tell us of their first job at Calef’s. There are many ways that a country store can give back to the community but providing good local jobs to our younger citizens is among the most important and rewarding.