When the crowds gather, they call him the Bearded Dragon, because his espresso is as fire as his hair is red... Okay, they don’t call him that, but James Harper is one of our co-managers at the shop, and after X Years working in coffee, Little Bear is yet another outlet for his craftsmanship. In addition to coffee, James is a sign maker gifted in typography and illustration, and when he’s not melting faces at the shop, you can catch him laughing with friends, helping his fiancée with her jewelry business, or bombing Albuquerque’s world-renowned Indian School ditch on his longboard.
Folks are always saying that every good coffee shop needs their own mad scientist “in house.” (Aren’t you just constantly hearing folks saying that?) Well Isaiah - acting with James as another of Little Bear’s co-managers - is that guy. Want to learn about center pours or coffee-to-water ratios or discuss extraction times? You and Isaiah can put your pontificators together and nerd out for hours. Beyond coffee, Isaiah loves hip hop and chess, which he worries makes him boring, but that’s only because he has never seen the movie Searching For Bobby Fisher.
A real-life Wes Anderson film character (the highest of compliments available to anyone, ever), Heidi Goodman is perhaps the kindest human we’ve ever come across. She’s married to an Apple geek with a Samsung phone, and they’ve got two stuffed-animal Dalmatians for pets. She’s a wonderful sketch artist, and when she’s not creating smiles, she’s likely drawing a picture of one. (You should ask her for a portrait - she’ll probably trade you for some dollars.)
Christian - Or “Critch,” as all of his best and closest friends like to call him (feel free to consider yourself his best and closest friend now, too) - is a barista and our resident film/videographer. He likes to wear socks with Crocs sandals, and he’s got the most absurd collection of high-end fidget spinners that you’ve ever seen. Critch can play a mean Cajon, and his eye for capturing life through a camera lens is impeccable. Catch his golden locks blowing in the wind on a nice, Spring day, and enjoy those deep, coffee-conversations that only the very best of friends can have next time you stop in for cup of joe.
If you were to dust off an original-edish of Webster’s Dictionary and look up the words “The Ideal Man,” you’d find a picture of Richie Jiacoletti (never mind that he wasn’t yet born when the book went to print), and the definition would read: "|ˈriCHē| – lover of campfires, photography and screen printing. Enjoys good (and bad) beer. Paints masterpieces with rugged hands whose callouses encapsulate the grind of life whilst simultaneously accomplishing the perfect grind for your cup of coffee. A man tough enough to wrangle a wild boar, but tender enough to hug his friends and family for just slightly too long when he greets them, Richie Jiacoletti will lift you up and never let you down.”
If you were to stand in an elevator with Jessica, chances are the background music wouldn’t be smooth jazz, it’d be Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop,” because she’s a thrift-wizard-extraordinaire. And when we asked her to give us her life as an elevator pitch, she said,“I’m pretty normal.” Well… if you think painting and riding bikes and hanging out with people is “normal," then maybe you’d be right. However – in a world where pulling your eyeballs away from your phone is a feat that only the fittest can muster – you can bet she’ll evolve as much a survivor as her cat, Ulysses (who’s currently living out all nine of his feline lives as a pet in her “normal” Albuquerque home). Jessica’s husband, Diego, is a barista and wholesale manager for Prismatic Coffee, located in Albuquerque’s Sawmill District.
Every now and then, you might catch someone peeking into the window of a specialty coffee shop and saying things like, “Wow! Look at all of those beakers and scales and knick-knacks! They’re doing science in there!” True that. And seeing as how our very own Isaac Heflin is currently studying computer science outside of his work here, well… I guess that’s where the analogy breaks down, frankly. But, he did let us know that he has impeccable hand-eye coordination, and that’s an important skill to have in both cases, so we kept him on. Isaac loves jazz music, and his dad is a dentist (we’ll let you decide if he took his father’s wisdom to heart the next time you see him smile).
As Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben always says in every movie that they keep making about Spider-Man: “With great power comes great responsibility.” That’s certainly true for Abigail, one of our resident superheroes here at Little Bear who - for example - used her great power as a human to name her inanimate object of a car “Petunia.” She also claims that she (and we quote): “Will pet any dog within sight,” which is a powerful move, indeed, especially if the dogs within sight happen to be rabid beasts... But when it comes to our Abigail? Doesn’t even matter. She’s petting those dogs because she has the power and the responsibility to do so. Her greatest superpower (or - at least - most relevant to our immediate purposes), however, is discovered by customers who, day in and day out, find their cups full of delicious, life-giving magic that we like to call The Milk Of The Bean. One of Abigail’s self-proclaimed life goals is “to bring community together,” and she believes that coffee is a huge part of creating and cultivating that reality. She’s not wrong, and when she shows up in her cat shoes to save the day, you can bet it’s a powerful thing.