20 Under 40: Libby Thomson serves more than a good cup of joe
Libby Thomson began her career at Rocky Mountain Roastery Cafe as a barista 11 years ago, and through hard work and dedication to service, is now an operating partner.
Thomson was instrumental in renovating the Roastery’s Fraser location to increase tourist traffic and in opening a second location in the Granby Visitor’s Center. Both locations have added year-round jobs to the county.
“Even when she’s not in the front of the shop slinging coffee, she’s in the back running payroll, budgeting, scheduling, inventory and operating the business. She does it all!” the entry nomination said about Thomson’s work ethic and dedication to the business. “Libby has poured her heart into this local corner and it really shows.”
What made you choose to live and work in Grand County?
I met my husband at school in Iowa. He grew up — and has always lived — in Grand County. I moved here once we started dating more than 12 years ago, and immediately loved the small-town feel and the people who live here. I have worked primarily in the coffee industry since moving here. I really enjoy that local coffee shops serve as the community hub.
How has COVID-19 changed the way your industry does business?
It definitely taught us how to be flexible as we adapted to the ever-changing policies. Switching all of our orders to to-go only didn’t cause much of a hiccup. Before COVID-19, the majority of our customers were to-go, wanting quick, grab-and-go service. Overall, we have become more efficient at balancing all areas of service: Speed of taking and preparing orders to minimize contact times, sanitizing after every customer, and properly wearing/changing gloves. We have fine-tuned many of our procedures to get a better end result, for example, adjusting recipes and how we display and store pastries to maximize freshness.
If there were one thing you could change, what would it be and why?
Less waste in the restaurant and food industries. A health department representative once told me, ‘The health department’s goal is not to save the environment, it is to keep the public safe.’ I wish there was more of a balance between the two. It is very hard to find that balance in a fast-paced, food service environment.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love the outdoors. Long distance running is my favorite activity. I set high standards for myself and train for a couple races a year. Skiing is a close second.
What advice or encouragement would you offer a young professional trying to make it in the county?
Work hard, but strike a balance with quality of life. A hard work ethic will take you miles. Taking a little time to do the activities you love will give you the mental stamina you need to go even further.
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US Forest Service officials have closed Willow Creek Reservoir in Grand County because of a potential blue-green algae bloom.