“I started bussing tables when I was 9.” That description of a girl’s childhood may sound like a violation of the child labor laws, but it’s actually a description of a labor of love. Michelle Rondinelli started working at her family’s business at a young age, and her job gave her the opportunity to work with her father and her grandmother.
The family business is Kitchen Kettle Village in Intercourse, and several decades after she cleaned her first table, she’s still working there. She’s moved from the ground floor to an upstairs office, and she’s now president of Kitchen Kettle Foods, which means that she oversees operations in the areas of retail, food service, mail order and wholesale. Her presidential position doesn’t mean, however, that she spends all of her time in that office. On busy days, especially on Saturdays during the height of tourist season, you may still find her bussing tables while her father Mike, who’s CEO, is parking cars.
“People ask if I still have to work on Saturdays, and I tell them that Saturday is the fun day. Many of our guests assume that Kitchen Kettle Village is owned by a large corporation, and they’re pleasantly surprised to learn that we’re a family business and the owners are greeting them and answering their questions. Working like that also helps to create a mutual respect with our employees.”
For Michelle, Kitchen Kettle Village has always been an integral part of her life. “I grew up just down the street, and I would walk to work with my father. He likes to be close so he can get here quickly if there’s any sort of problem. By high school, I knew that I wanted to work here.”
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