Team Highlights

We want Oxford Exchange to be a place, put simply, where community happens; this community also includes our talented and hardworking team. Through Team Highlights, we are showcasing our team members from all departments. We hope you enjoy meeting the team, as much as we enjoy showing them off! 
 
"Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much." -- Helen Keller

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Kaitie

Bookstore - Sales Associate Lead 

How did you start at OE?  

I was friends with Jade (Web Content Manager). I really wanted to work in a bookstore, so I turned in an application at the beginning of the summer (but I didn’t hear back). Jade texted me in September and asked me if I was still interested. I was in a job I hated so I said yes. I was on my way to class, but I came in as soon as class was over.

If you didn’t work in the Bookstore, where else would you want to work?  

Definitely TeBella. I see on Instagram that they’re hiring for Sarasota, and I’m like, “hmmm”  (not really!). I’m a tea junkie.

What’s your favorite customer story?  

There was one time around the holidays and this lady in her 80’s—like 85—came in. We walked all around the Bookstore and she told me her favorite books and favorite authors. It was really, really sweet.

What’s your favorite genre or book?  

My favorite genre tends to be sci-fi and fantasy. My favorite book is never the same. It changes pretty much day to day. It depends on what I’m reading then.  Annihilation by Jeff Vander Meer blew my mind—the movie is nothing like the book—more “inspired by”—but the book is genius.

What’s one thing no one would guess about you?  

I used to read Tarot cards professionally. I had a reading done on me when I was in high school and I was super fascinated by it. I started collecting cards and doing readings for my friends. I had a business on Etsy for a while and I did really well. It was exhausting, though.

What’s your crazy dream?  

I would like to write, but I would also like to sing and play on Broadway. It’s not something I’ve done since elementary school. The more realistic dream is to be a novelist—that’s what my degree is in.

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Jess C.

Restaurant - Server

How did you start at OE?

I was working at Ava with Morgan, Chef Rachel’s wife. I was looking for more flexibility and a job with daytime hours so I could spend more time with my daughter. Morgan suggested Oxford Exchange, so I applied.

If you didn’t work in the Restaurant, where else would you want to work?  

I would want to do either something with Design or help plan weddings. I like the creative aspect of it: it’s pretty, and you get to be a part of special moments.

What’s your favorite customer story?  

One that always sticks with me is because I used to model. There was a photographer eating here that I knew through a mutual friend. He asked how I was doing and I told him that I’d had a contract to go to New York. I turned it down because of my daughter. He gave me the biggest compliment and it really warmed my heart because he was proud of my decision.

What’s your favorite dish?  

Tyler already said chicken paillard, so I can’t do that one. The steak salad is my second favorite—I love the pickled onions on top and the pico is my jam. I put it on everything—my Super Simple sandwich, bagels, everything.

What’s one thing no one would guess about you?  

I’m a military brat and Tampa has been the longest amount of time I’ve stayed in one place. I’ve been here six years. Or, you could put that I’m signed model in New York. Well, not anymore….

What’s your crazy dream?  

I would model. I would sign with an agency in New York. I’d bring my daughter with me and travel.

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Mykola

Restaurant - Line Cook

A Q & A with Mykola and Chef Richard

How did you start at OE?

Mykola: I lived in New Jersey for a few months after I left the Ukraine and a friend got me a job in a pizza place. When I moved to Tampa, I saw an ad on Craigslist and then I happened to be walking by Oxford Exchange one day. My girlfriend (now my wife) told me to come in and apply, so I did. Chef Richard called me for an interview and I could barely understand him on the phone because I didn’t speak a lot of English. I had never cooked before, except at the pizza place. I didn’t interview anywhere else for a job. This was actually the first interview I ever had. I never had a job in the Ukraine; it’s different over there.

Richard: I needed people. His English wasn’t very good, but he was young and seemed interested.  

Mykola: I was kind of shy. I started on salads; I didn’t have any experience on anything.  

Richard: But you were trying to learn and asked a lot of questions. Now he’s one of my best guys. He’s skilled. He can work almost anywhere. His station is one of the busiest on weekends and he juggles everything.   

If you didn’t work back of house, where would you like to work?  

Mykola: I’d be a designer.  

Richard: Designer?! Like clothes or houses?

Mykola: Like web design. I studied computers in the Ukraine for two years. I dropped it because I had a chance to come to America.  

Richard: I never knew that about you. Do you miss it?  

Mykola: No, not really. But if I’d stayed in the Ukraine, I probably would have never worked in restaurants and I would have done computers.

What’s your favorite story from work?

Mykola: I don’t know. I don’t really have one. Do you, Richard?

Richard: Everyone in the kitchen has a reputation or a story about them. With you, the joke is how you drop everything. I don’t know if it’s funny to you, but now when anyone drops anything, we blame you, even when you’re nowhere near.

Mykola: It’s true. It is kind of funny.

What’s your favorite food—something that’s different from what you’re used to?

Mykola: I would say steak. We didn’t eat it a lot in the Ukraine.

Richard: Isn’t it a lot of pork?

Mykola:  Yes. And we would never eat beef medium or medium-rare. It was always cooked through, well-done. Maybe because of the quality. There aren’t a lot of big commercial farms for beef. People would have a couple of cows, but it’s not the same.

What’s your crazy dream?  

Mykola:  Probably travelling. Maybe to Africa. It’s super different. Not even close to America or Europe or post-Soviet countries. I’d eat and just travel and meet new people. I’d work somewhere for a couple of months.

Richard: I know people who do that. Work the season and save just enough money to move on. It sounds great, but I couldn’t do it.

Mykola: No, it would be really hard. And it’s not something you can do if you have a family. 

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Joey 

Shop - Sales Associate Lead, Merchandiser 

How did you start at OE?

I always wanted to work here, ever since it opened. I really wanted to be in the Shop, so when I saw an ad on Craigslist I decided to apply.

If you didn’t work in the Shop, where would you work?

I would want to work in the office as a buyer. It’s always been one of my goals. I love merchandising and I want to be a shop owner.

What’s your favorite customer story?

We have a customer that comes in all the time—she loves Astier and John Derian.  I always shop with her and she takes my advice. When she takes it home and sets it up, she’ll send us pictures.

What’s your favorite brand?

Astier is growing for me, but I’m going to have to go with John Derian. It kind of grew on me and now I’m fascinated. It’s beautiful and the craftsmanship is totally worth it.

What’s one thing that no one would guess about you?

I’m trying to think of a good one. I enjoy sketching  I like to do fashion sketches.  Not a lot of people know that I have a fashion design background. I always wanted to be a fashion designer.

What’s your crazy dream?

I always wanted to be a set designer for theater. That was one of my dream jobs.  That’s where merchandising comes in, too — staging and setting it up, creating a moment.

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Tyler

Restaurant - Server

How did you start at OE?

I started about a year after we opened. I had restaurant experience and was working nights bartending. I had friends who worked here, so I applied. I wanted to make the switch to daytime, but it was a huge adjustment for me. I didn’t know what to think the first time I had to come in at 7 a.m.

If you didn’t work as a server, where else would you want to work?

I think I would work at Tebella; I call myself an honorary Tebella girl. I came here knowing nothing about tea, but now I’m a tea fanatic and I find it fascinating.

What’s your favorite customer story?

I greeted a table and was being super personable and explaining everything to the guests. This lady was just gazing at me and I asked if she needed anything. She said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear anything you said. I was mesmerized by how perfect your eyebrows are.”

What’s your favorite dish?

I have so many. I would say the paillard. No, I’m changing it to fish tacos because I have a better story. I was afraid of them because people said how spicy they were.  My palate has become more refined since working here and I love the spice.  (That’s a better answer than, “I like the paillard because I like truffle oil.")

What’s one thing no one would guess about you?

I don’t know. I don’t have anything because I’m such an open book.  

What’s your crazy dream?

I’ve always said I want to be the next Ryan Seacrest. I’m really extroverted and charismatic—if I could meet celebrities and interview them and be in the public eye, that would be a dream job.

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Keisha

Restaurant - Line Cook
Keisha, Restaurant, Line Cook

How did you start at OE?

I applied here because someone I worked with at another restaurant suggested it. I started as a Server Assistant and then got put on Expo one day. I was doing a good job on Expo and I wanted to learn the back, so Chef took me into the kitchen. I was the first person with no kitchen experience to get hired in the back of the house. Now I know every station and love working back there. I like to keep it clean and organized and I like making sure the food looks good.

If you didn’t work in back of the house, where else would you want to work?

Front of house during events — I like seeing and meeting new people and watching them enjoy themselves.

What’s your favorite customer story?

One day I was working Expo and an older couple was sitting near by. I was calling back for fries and really getting onto the guys in the back — I have to take care of my guests. The lady came up to me as she was leaving and said, “You’re a lion, telling these boys what to do.” She had been watching me and really liked my energy and the way I worked. It made me feel really good.

What’s your favorite dish?

There’s so many things, I like all our food. Back when I could eat it (I’m vegan now), I loved the tomato mozzarella flatbread. I like the way it’s built, the way you have to take your time making it. You have to spread all the ingredients out just right because they will condense while they’re cooking, and it comes out looking so beautiful.

What’s one thing no one would guess about you?

That I’m a cook. When I tell people I work at Oxford Exchange, they assume I’m a Server or Hostess, because that’s what girls do. There aren’t many females in most kitchens.

What’s your crazy dream?

To start my own restaurant, or maybe a food truck.  Probably vegan — I’m learning more about veganism and there are so many ways to build flavors using seasonings and marinades; it doesn’t have to be boring. I don’t know, maybe some other kind of restaurant. For right now, I just want to learn everything I can. I love cooking.

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