new adventures / by Shelby Robinson

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It almost seemed divinely planned, you know? 

How all of these seemingly mundane things could come together to form this next adventure I'm embarking on.

All the years spent working at a sushi restaurant to pay my bills in college. The four-year advertising degree that I thought I'd never actually pursue. The year spent in Korea that, although important for my personal growth, felt lacked purpose or meaning. The months upon arriving home spent serving at Maru to get back on my feet again. 

All of this, all of these seemingly random life choices... and then I end up here. I meet the owners of the restaurant that I already know and love so well. I meet them, we talk creative work and aesthetics and Asia and Korean culture and food. We meet and we click. We realize we're basically on the same wavelength. We meet and we decide to take things a little further.

So now, I'm smack dab in the middle of a new role for this company, Maru Hospitality Group, which encompasses all of the Maru Restaurants in Michigan. With five locations (in EL, Okemos, Midland, Grand Rapids and Detroit), a new location coming to Kalamazoo and a new concept restaurant, Ando, opening in Grand Rapids next year, I couldn't be more proud to call this company my first real career. My role, even though it is new and evolving and will most definitely change, right now includes all of our marketing and branding efforts. Basically, we are building a lifestyle around Maru. We want people to enjoy eating our food. And drinking our cocktails. We want our employees to enjoy what they do each day. To be a part of our family. We want to create an experience so much more than simply eating a meal.

I couldn't be happier to be given the freedom, the trust and essentially full creative control over where to take this brand. I couldn't be happier to be with a company that puts such an emphasis on service, creativity, culture and quality. All things that are important me, too. 

Through this transformation, although hesitant at first because #committmentissues, I have really begun to trust that this is exactly where I'm meant to be. That although I'm back home, living in the same town that I grew up in, this opportunity is important and filled with purpose. And for that, I am content. I am content being here. And it feels really, really good.

Above are a few shots of our latest space in Detroit. It's so. freaking. pretty.

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