The Face Behind the Billboards: Richard Yurcak
Richard Yurcak, the most energetic and smiley person you’ll ever meet, has been part of the BIGGBY® family since May of 2015. In 2017, he won BIGGBY® COFFEE Barista of the Year and if you had a chance to read the contest submissions by customers, you’d vote for him too. Richard is originally from Ann Arbor and moved to Saginaw for college. Before BIGGBY®, Richard worked for—gasp!—Starbucks. He tells us that back then, he enjoyed being a barista, but he was just there for a paycheck. It wasn’t until he joined the team at BIGGBY® that he felt like he found his work home. To this day, he still talks about the first manager he worked with who completely embodied PERC, our operating philosophy, and told us she’s the one who made him love BIGGBY®.
Richard isn’t shy about being who he is and that’s one of the most wonderful things about him. It wasn’t always like that though. Richard knew he was different in high school but he wasn’t ready to share it with the world right away. During his junior year, he came out as gay and had a few close friends who supported him fully. He shared his struggle with us and said, “You come home and you’re upset because you don’t feel like you have control over your life. You don’t really know who you are as a person.” Talking to him now, you’d never think that was Richard’s reality at any point in his life. He’s so sure of himself and so confident. He talked about how he had to be intentional and make a change. “I had to forgive myself for the previous day and recommit. Wake up fresh each morning, move on from yesterday, and make today awesome!”
Richard has used his time at BIGGBY® to show others that trusting yourself to be authentic creates a happy life. He loves Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, and dances behind the line while he makes drinks for his customers. It’s important to set a good example when you’re in a management role and Richard makes it clear that if you let yourself be you, happiness comes naturally. “I want my staff to grow and build a life they love and when BIGGBY® helps them get there, it makes me feel accomplished.”
Winning Barista of the Year at the 2017 Annual Franchise Meeting is easy for Richard to describe. “It was wild.” He knew he had been nominated but his store owner, Alex, didn’t even know that he was going to win. They were thrilled and spent the next couple of weeks sharing his story with local news outlets. Getting to be front and center for the March/April promotional period at BIGGBY® is exciting for Richard. “The photoshoot was really fun and I can’t believe I’m going to be on billboards. I’ll just go back to what I keep saying about this opportunity—it’s wild.”
When he’s not behind the line at BIGGBY®, Richard spends time with friends, listens to music, and loves teaching fitness classes at Seung-Ni Fit Club. His healthy and active lifestyle is a big part of who he is and if you scroll through his Facebook, you’ll see plenty of his fitness class attendees complimenting him on his kick-butt cardio. He thinks of working out as taking control of his happiness and it definitely shows!
When we asked Richard if he could describe himself in a couple of sentences, he shared some heartfelt thoughts with us. “This is me and I just want to be myself. I believe that you create your own destiny and even though I still don’t have it all figured out, I’m being himself,” said Richard. Richard’s mantra is powerful and that’s what we’re going to end on—“People who matter don’t mind and people who mind don’t matter. Just B you.”