Anyone who knows the Hatzell family knows what sports enthusiasts we all are. Put it this way; Rachel’s first word was not mommy or daddy, it was “Ball”. I actually don’t even know how I was allowed into the Hatzell Clan – not being athletic at all! Over the years of sitting in the bleachers and driving all over Northern California for various teams, listening to conversations of the teammates and coaches I’ve learned a thing or two about teamwork.
As I’ve watched countless games of various forms of “ball”, I’ve seen what happens when the teamwork falls apart; when nobody is there to backup the 2nd baseman who misses a throw, or when no one is there to tip a missed shot into the basket. When someone makes an error and teammates yell at them things start to unravel quickly. I’ve also seen what happens when they support each other no matter what; they win championships. That’s the kind of team we have at the Alley Cat Cafe.
I am so very blessed with our “team”. Not only our employees who are amazing, but my family. My husband, Bob, listens to me when I’ve had a harder than normal day, he has never said, “well, maybe we should close the cafe”. He is my go to guy when things break, sometimes in the middle of his day at his own job, he’s the guy that says, “you’ll feel better after you get some sleep”. He is my rock.
My kids…. My kids have supported me through bad days and good. They were there to paint and mop and wipe my tears sometimes. I’ve missed games, and not been able to make birthday cakes or cut the tree for Christmas until the night before when we cut down one in our front yard. They’ve both worked long hours at the register and cleaning up at the end of the day. My mother-in-law, God bless her, makes runs to Chico whenever I need supplies, cooks dinner for us sometimes when I’m so tired we would have just eaten cereal, and she’s done her share of dishes too.
One of the things I am very proud of is being able to provide jobs in our small town. We’ve had a lot of employees over the years, all have had their good points and shortcomings. I have learned from them all. The group we have working at the Alley Cat now is the most cohesive group we’ve ever had, it’s a solid team. We have each other’s backs, they never complain about extra work, even when I ask them to dress like “Who’s from Whoville for Sparkle”, they listen to instructions and know what their job is. They each believe in the value of what we are doing at the Alley Cat. I never have to wonder if someone will show up for their shift and I look forward to seeing each one of them everyday and think of them as family. I’ve asked a lot of them this last month with the theatre opening and all the extra hours. I want them to know how much they mean to me. The cafe would not be here if not for them all.