Interview with Chad Maury, Self-Employed Restaurant Owner
Interview with Chad Maury
Restaurant Owner, Business Enterprise Program
By David Fair and Courtney Lee
David: How's it going? This is David Fair, and we're at the WCB Convention, and we're assisted by Courtney, and we're going to be interviewing this man. Would you like to introduce yourself?
Chad: Chad Maury.
Courtney: Okay so, what is your job title?
Chad: I'm an owner/operator of the Modern Day Café. It's through the Business Enterprise. It's a program that is for the blind, and it's turned out to be one beautiful opportunity for me.
David: What exactly do you do? Do you just manage or...?
Chad: I pay all the bills. I make sure that everything is taken care of, I run the till, I make coffee, give change. I direct the business. I do a lot of different things, I wear a lot of different hats, whether it's between people who are not getting along, handling the money, making sure that things get paid, keeping things clean.
Courtney: So the Modern Day Café, could you tell us where this is located for our listeners?
Chad: The Modern Day Café is on 76 Sandpoint Way. It's a NOOA facility, N-O-O-A (National Oceanic Atmosphere). I deal with a lot of scientists. It's a café, it's there for them. I'm just here to serve them, not just to make money.
David: How did you get involved with doing this café?
Chad: I had an accident ten years ago that left me completely blind. And I went back to something I knew, I had prior experience in a sighted life with lots of restaurant experience.
Courtney: Are there any sort of accommodations that you have, any braille or anything like that?
Chad: I'm not a braille user. I didn't read very well in the first place. I would rather use a talking computer, which I have. I also have a talking cash register. I have a talking meat thermometer, talking scale to weigh and check things in case my employees are not taking care of the business. I can just go and...I don't have to see anymore. Technology's out there to give me the advantage of walking over there, grabbing something they've done, throwing it on the scale, looking at it [sound]: "All right, you're off, you're on, perfect, good job."
David: What would be probably your favorite part of being employed where you are?
Chad: As being the owner, I love taking money when it's business, when it's fast. Because I'm hot, I'm talented, and people look at me "Whew, this guy's blind?" So being blind now, it's something small that I got to overcome, and when I'm going that fast, looking at them, smiling, turning them on, they don't even notice. You know, they'll forget to tell me what they're putting in my hand, and that's when I look at them and smile.
David: What would be your least favorite part, like dealing with your customers?
Chad: Sometimes it can be hard to try to accommodate them, because they might want a salmon pâté, when I can only bring in a salmon. This clientele base where I'm at now, they're really warm people. I don't have any problems with them.
Courtney: Do you have any advice or tips or major experiences you'd give to anyone starting a career?
Chad: Don't back down. Don't let anybody tell you you can't do it. DO NOT. Just go for it, make it happen. If you want it bad enough, do it. Don't let anybody stand in your way. People told me, you know coming from 20/20 to darkness, they said "You're not going to do the things that you're used to." I said, "I will." And as for someone else coming into anything, especially if they've got some visual challenges, just do it. You won't know unless you try. Don't listen to the people who say it can't be done. Go out and show them how it's done, all right? This is what it took for me to get here. This is how I did it.
Courtney: It's been nice having you here. Thank you for your time. I'm sure a lot of people will benefit from this.
Thank you for listening. This has been an interview of Chad Maury at the WCB Convention of '06.
Interview taken at the Washington State Council of the Blind Convention, November 2006.
Interview provided by Jack Straw Productions, Arts and Visually Impaired Audiences, Washington State Council of the Blind and the Child and Family Program of the Washington State Department of Services for the Blind.
Copyright © Jack Straw Productions 2006.