Once the grills and espresso machines at Bennee’s Bistro and Hollee’s Café at Lancaster Bible College are turned on in the morning, there is very little time they aren’t hot and making sandwiches and drinks for the students, staff and faculty of LBC – and that’s just the way senior JJ Sanchez (’17) likes it.
Sanchez, a business administration major set to graduate this December, has basically been in charge of both Bennee’s and Hollee’s for close to a year and a half. The two cafes have experienced a noticeable growth in sales since he took over.
“Originally, the plan was to save the college a little money and have a student run the cafes and get some experience. We have about 15 to 20 students in the business program that want to run a café someday, and I jumped at the chance and it has been terrific,” Sanchez said. “The cafes were in a tough spot prior to me taking over, as it is really hard to get 30 or so student workers to not only care about the work, but put out a consistent product. However, we have begun to build that consistency and I think my ability to problem solve has really helped and we go day to day and not past that.”
Sanchez, who is a four-year starter on the college’s baseball team, says one of the most important things he has learned while managing the cafes is that everyone is different and comes from a different place. “I’ve realized in my time here at LBC that everyone has a story,” Sanchez said. “It’s not that I didn’t care about people before I started managing the cafes, but you start to learn about where people come from and I take that into account both on the field and in the classroom. I have tried to lead by example and learn how different people will handle and respond to certain situations that we have at the café and on the field.”
Sanchez said he has learned a lot from LBC trustee Larry Rohrer, who owned several Lancaster County businesses and also teaches classes at the college. “Larry really mentored me to the place I am right now,” Sanchez explained. “He poured into my life and our talks started simply about budgetary items, but have evolved into life questions and answers. He’s a strong Christian and really gives a lot of his time here at LBC as a servant leader. I really needed a person like that in my life and he has provided tons of great insight.”
Sanchez, predominantly a catcher for the baseball team, has appeared in 77 games through three seasons and has collected 60 hits and knocked in 35 runs. Not only has Sanchez become a better player on the field in his time here at LBC, but has become a better man, thanks to head coach TJ Horn. “We have grown so much as a program in my time here at LBC,” Sanchez reflected. “We have gone from simply wanting to win games, to Coach Horn explaining that he wants us to become good men, good husbands and good fathers. We still want to win games, but us becoming better men during our time here is much more of the goal now.”
Sanchez, who is interested in being in sales, perhaps in food distribution, says he loves to sell, but more than that, he loves talking to people. “I want to help people and be a godly person,” Sanchez said. “I want to be honest and bring that aspect back into sales.”
Though his time is running out at LBC, it’s clear Sanchez has used his college experience to grow not only as a Christian, but as a man. Through work, class, relationships and athletics, Sanchez has become a servant leader that has touched many lives and improved not only behind the plate, but behind the counter as well.