The second you set foot inside Castle Farms, you are sure to hear “Welcome to the Castle” from a cheerful, sincere voice from behind the counter. Jessica Anderson, Gift Shop Director and customer service extraordinaire, not only starts guests off with a happy welcome, but goes above and beyond to ensure they enjoy their time at the Castle.
Jessica’s sense of humor is one of the first things you’ll notice about her, second only to her brilliant smile. Her smile greets every single guest of Castle Farms, which is no small feat. Her friendly demeanor and bubbly personality immediately make them feel at home. Jessica came to us from a strong retail background and boasted a BA from LSSU in Business Administration and PR, which made her a great fit to manage the growing Castle Farms Gift Shop. She laughs and says that she loves “getting paid to shop”, and she’s not far off. Jessica attends buying shows all over the country to find the newest items to stock the shelves in the shop.
You’d think that managing a bustling gift shop would be enough, but Jessica also greets wedding guests and directs parties to rehearsals. Oh yes, she also greets 200 person tour groups when they arrive and starts them on their tour. But wait, there’s more. Jessica alerts the wedding coordinators when their vendors check in and when wedding parties have arrived. Take these “normal” duties and then add on all the times she pitches in to help a team member, organizes the staff when a bus arrives early, and stops in the administrative office with a quick smile or story, and you’ll see why we love her so much.
Jessica logs many hours in her sporty little convertible. She regularly travels home to visit family on Drummond Island, and makes a special point to spend time with her maternal grandmother. Once, Jessica baked a whopping 840 cookies for her grandmother, because she knew that her grandmother would freeze them and have them available for when her sweet tooth struck. Her paternal grandmother started doing crafts with her when Jessica was very young and passed along a love of crocheting and cross stitch. Family also comes in the four-legged variety, in the form of two beautiful black German Shepherds, Zeus and Zoe. These two refuse to leave her side whenever she visits the island, regardless of the wet dog smell they may bring along for the ride.
One of Jessica’s favorite things to do on a day off is to go disk golfing with her long time boyfriend. She thinks of it as a great excuse to spend time outdoors with friends, but also notes that it’s great exercise. Her favorite course is at the River Road Sports Complex in Petoskey, which boasts a monstrous 24 holes instead of the typical 9 or 18 holes. She likes to “throw” at least a couple times a month, and assures me with a playful smile that the game is always a friendly competition.
Slapstick to deadpan, Jessica is always humorous. A typical Jess joke? During her 7 month internship with Disney in Florida, one of her duties was to make fudge, which happens to also be a very popular Northern Michigan specialty. “I traveled all the way across the country only to end up making fudge. I can’t get away from it!” Plan a visit to Castle Farms and meet Jessica; she’s sure to put a smile on your face.