Hometown: Helena, Montana
Chrissy O'Malley is the director of retail store operations at City Brew, the highly successful local coffee chain in Billings. She started as a barista and has helped launch store openings and promote a very popular brand.
You started with City Brew and worked your way up. Is that by design or did it happen that way?
Really, it just happened that way. I moved to Billings for college, had some coffee experience from before, and applied as a Barista and here I am, 13 years later. I honestly have always enjoyed being a part of the City Brew team. No matter what position I was in, the company values people as its most important asset. Whether it is our staff or our customers, they are always No. 1.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
Knowing that City Brew isn’t always a career choice for every person we employ. I love this company, but also know that some people are with us for a specific time or phase in their life. We will have really great people move on to greater adventures simply because life takes them in a new direction (graduation, marriage, new town, travel). I just hope they will always be able to look back and have a positive experience with us, and we are glad to have been a part of their journey along the way.
City Brew has grown into a recognized Montana brand. How do you manage to keep it fresh?
We focus on exceeding industry standards while maintaining our own core values. We know we invest in innovation and bring in exciting products to keep our customers invested with us. It’s a formula that has been very successful for City Brew.
What is your favorite menu item at City Brew and why?
Hands down, a drink we call the "Bianco." It’s a perfect balance of creamy milk and our smooth Cool River Espresso with a hint of sweetness. You can’t go wrong--it’s just delicious!
You’ve opened a number of stores, including a new one on North 27th Street. How do you keep each distinctive?
We focus on keeping a high level of consistency among all of our stores, but we also recognize that each of our store managers are going to have their own particular management style. We really try to encourage them to keep their own style, as long as it aligns with our values as a company.
You are a local brand going up against one of the biggest retail chains in the country, Starbucks. How do you manage to keep competitive?
We really just love being a part of this industry. Coffee to most people is the most important part of their day, no matter what time we get to serve them. City Brew roasts its own coffee and I believe that the high quality of our distinctive beans and our artistry put into the roasting process sets us apart from the competition, as well as our superb customer service. Our goal is to be sure that our customers feel appreciated and that they always know we will do what it takes to make them happy. For our customers, we know that their experience with us is personal and the one thing that can make or break their day.
Why have you decided to make Billings home?
I moved here for college, got a great job with City Brew, and met my husband, Kevin, along the way. I have been fortunate to have some of my own family here, as well as his family, as he was raised here. Living somewhere that is close to family has always been important to me, as well as having the ability to have a social life. Billings has some of my favorite restaurants, and we have been blessed to develop a lot of great friendships here.
Where do you see City Brew and your professional career in 10 years?
I really hope to still be a part of it. I have been fortunate to have been part of a lot of City Brew’s growth during the years. It makes me proud to look back at what we have accomplished and it makes me want to continue to see what we can do next. We are excited to continue to grow, and become a part of other communities. I really love that we started here in Billings and it’s still the place City Brew calls home.
What do you do to relax away from the office?
Mostly, just spend time with my husband, my mom, and our friends. I love to cook, and am also completely content staying at home watching movies. My family and marriage will always come first when it comes to spare time.
What has been the biggest or best learning experience for you?
I honestly believe that every day presents a new learning experience in itself, so it is hard to pick just one. If I had to, I would say its not taking life for granted, and being sure to always express your love and gratitude to those that mean the most to you. I lost my dad close to 2 years ago and since then, it’s always on the top of my mind. I wouldn’t be here today without the love and support of my family, friends and great colleagues. Our daily interactions and how we handle them decide the outcome of our future, and I always want to be sure the people around me never have to question what role they have played in my life.