Friday, February 27, 2009

What’s in a Name?

The new Neon Café’s smashing success revolves around the people who make a difference. First, some history: nine years ago GRMC hired Edie (Clayton) Muta, the owner of Edie’s Edibles, to bring her sandwich shop to the medical center. She was not sure she could stay in business due to a rent increase and we wanted to add something to our traditional cafeteria. We literally put it in a wide spot in the corridor not far from the cafeteria and called it the Corner Café. It was an overnight success. It quickly outgrew the space and we started thinking about expanding it and finding a permanent home for this experiment. Edie left GRMC but her exquisite sandwiches remained.

Along came our two main sandwich makers, Mary Anderson and Carla DeGeorge. (They get lots of help, of course, from many of the nutrition services staff as well.) I like to think of them as personality and personality plus! If you have been to the Corner Café you know exactly what I mean. In reality, they realize that making a great sandwich is only half the job. The other half is creating a little respite from the sometimes stressful and hectic pace of the hospital. They serve up a smile, friendly banter, and even a little “attitude” when the customer deserves it! From Hootie Hoot Day to celebrity grillers, trivia contests to guess the high school pictures, these ladies have a good time and everyone appreciates the fun.

So when it came time to come up with a name for the new space, the Neon Café took top billing. I really wanted a name that encouraged the “fun and vibrant” environment these ladies have created. We had a neon sign company design a “Neon Café” sign and then found several other neon lights and pictures. Brightly colored T-shirts with slogans, like “Brighten your day at the Neon Café” and “Fill your belly at the deli,” add to this festive eatery.

I also want to recognize the financial contributions from the GRMC Auxiliary that helped to make the project possible in the first place. Their dedication to our hospital can be seen at every corner and I appreciate their willingness to volunteer their time and talents!

The space was well-designed thanks to architect Kevin White. The Neon Café construction was primarily done by Clay Beyer and Bruce Engbers, with lots of help from the facilities management gang and department directors Kris Gilman and Mark Doll.

The new Neon Café is getting radiant reviews because the people at GRMC are dedicated to doing everything brilliantly! Great food, at a great price, served up with great fun!

The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent GRMC’s positions, strategies, or opinions.

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