Joyce Mayer is the General Manager for the Austintown Panera, which is a Covelli Enterprise Franchise store. Joyce has been with the company for almost 11 years and has worked her way up in the company.

Joyce spent the first half of her working life taking apart carburetors and helping customers in her family’s auto repair business in Youngstown.

“I loved working on cars, but when my dad died it was time for me to move on to something else,” she said.

Joyce Mayer is the General Manager for the Austintown Panera, which is a Covelli Enterprise Franchise store.

Joyce has been with the company for almost 11 years and has worked her way up in the company.

At the time her friend was working at the Panera Bread Café on Elm Road in Warren, and urged her to come work doing prep.

That was in 2004. Joyce has since been promoted from her first position cutting meat, preparing vegetables and weighing products, to every position on the ladder of the Covelli manager program and is now the General Manager of the Austintown Panera Bread. She’s been there seven years.

When Joyce describes her position as manager of the Austintown Panera, it’s far more than your average restaurant manager job. Joyce genuinely cares about others, and it would be hard to find another manager who care like Joyce does. She takes pride in the work she does, and the relationships that she forms with her customers.

When customers come in Joyce greets them by their first names. Joyce has become friends with many of her customers over the years. The staff at Austintown Panera notices when their customers haven’t been in for a while.

“We actually have an older couple and the wife is in a wheelchair and for a few weeks, they didn’t show up,” she said. “When they came back, we asked them for their phone number and told them that if they need anything to let us know.”

Joyce has worked hard to make her store a welcoming place, not only for her customers, but for her associates too.

“When a new person starts, I say to them that after thirty days here you will feel like family,” she said. “We’re close to each other. If someone’s car breaks done and doesn’t have a ride to work, someone will volunteer to give them a ride.’ If someone is sick and calls off, someone will bring them soup after work.”

She said some employees have moved on to attend college, but they still stay in touch and sometimes call to get together.

At Austintown Panera the employees have a close relationship with their customers.

“The employees will sit with the customers when they are on break,” she said

She explained that one customer had lost his wife to cancer about a year ago and is extremely lonely. “The interaction that he has with our associates is so important to him,” she said. “I love that my employees sit with the customers,” said Joyce

Because of Joyce’s hard work to create lasting relationships with her customers, it’s no surprise that the Austintown Panera usually outsells all other stores for different fundraising events.

For instance, the Austintown store sold 5,000 bagels in one day during the Pink Ribbon Bagel Promotion to benefit the Joanie Abdu Comprehensive Breast Care Center in Youngstown. The store also led the company in sales of the puzzle piece cookies for autism.

“We don’t do it for the competition, we do it because it’s a good cause and we make it fun,” she said.

Joyce lives in Berlin Center with her husband Marty. They have been married for 34 years. They have two children, Marty and Julie. Marty lives with his wife Julie in Virginia Beach and they are expecting their first child this summer. Julie is married to Shaun and they live in Austintown with their 15 month old son Lincoln. They are expecting another child in the fall.

Joyce loves spending her free time with her family, especially her grandson. She is anxiously awaiting the arrival of her two new grandkids so she can’t start spoiling them.

Joyce said she cannot imagine working anywhere other than Panera and her biggest regret is that she didn’t start when she was younger.

“I have a lot of respect for Mr. Covelli and enjoy working for him. I am thankful for the opportunities I have had over the years working for the company,” said Joyce

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