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Who's Who | Eric Andersen: Enjoying one big caffeinated family

Eric Andersen loves getting to know people in the time it takes to steam a latte. - Richard D. Oxley / Bainbridge Island Review
Eric Andersen loves getting to know people in the time it takes to steam a latte.
— image credit: Richard D. Oxley / Bainbridge Island Review

Editor's note: Each year, the Bainbridge Island Review publishes our Who's Who, a special section filled with personality profiles of the people who help make Bainbridge Island unique.

He thought he would only take on the job part-time, just for a little while.

Now, nine years later, Eric Andersen remains in quite a steamy job, and he loves it.

Andersen provides smiles and coffee as manager of the Town & Country Espresso stand.

It’s obvious that Andersen likes his job. He takes the time to chat and get to know the customers who come in nearly every day.

“You know them and about their kids and their jobs,” Andersen said. “You get to know them a lot in the amount of time to steam a latte.”

“That’s why I’ve been there so long,” Andersen said. “It’s three minutes of pure potential; anything can happen.”

As manager he is in charge of ordering products, making employee schedules and more.

But all those responsibilities are really just side work for Andersen. His favorite part of the job is being right up front with the customers.

“I guess I downplay (managing) because my real thing is engaging with customers,” Andersen said.

He enjoys the mix of his job and people so much, it’s become a sort of philosophy.

“There is a rebounding joy,” Andersen said. “You got such great customers and you send it their way and they send it back — it creates a really happy spot.”

“It builds on itself,” he added. “It really is about fun first and having a good time.”

Times are so good for espresso staff that many stay on for years. Andersen notes that one employee has been at the stand for 14 years.

He is lucky because Town & Country gives him the freedom to run the shop his way.

“It’s a great company. They are totally supportive,” Andersen said. “They really are hands off — just serve a good product and they support you completely.”

In fact, the company has been supportive of Andersen’s endeavors outside of work.

When Andersen and his wife, Heather, helped take care of her grandmother, he found himself entering the world of dementia care.

“Care taking on the surface is the simplest of tasks,” Andersen said. “But just below the surface it’s the most profound of tasks.”

Together with his wife, he cared for the elderly woman in the last years of her life. It was an eye-opening experience.

“You shift roles with your parents,” Andersen said. “From parent and child, to you being the caretaker.”

“It’s really complex. It’s not easy.”

The experience dealing with dementia inspired Andersen and his wife to write a book on the topic to help others who face similar situations.

“It’s a primer,” Andersen said. “Larry Nakata (Town & Country’s owner) has been so supportive and allowed me to sell them in the store.”

The books are proudly displayed at the espresso counter where Andersen enjoys his work day, engaging his family of customers.

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