category Customer Interviews

Customer Profile: Mary Spicer

Mary Spicer 2

Mary Spicer is a Professional Psychic & A Good Life Development Coach. She’s been offering Psychic Readings every Tuesday from 4:00pm to 7:00pm  at Julie’s since February of 2014.

Fellow coach Heidi Bennett interviewed Mary on the garden patio at Julie’s.

HB: It’s so nice to finally meet you face to face Mary, I’m curious, how did you first connect with Julie’s?

MS: Well, I came in here one night and thought “Oh, I should do readings here.” I haven’t thought that about coffee shops that I’ve been to before but I just thought this would be a great place to do intuitive insights, psychic readings, life coaching and energy work.

The next day I was at a party on MountTam in Marin and I met interesting, creative people from all over the area. I was getting to know one woman and she asked what I did, I said I do life coaching, energy balancing, psychic reading, I work to heal the inner dynamic of the masculine and feminine, so that’s relationship and sexuality and she said “oh, where do you live” and I said, Alameda and she said “Oh, I have a business in Alameda, Julie’s coffee and tea garden” and I explained that I had just been there the day before and thought I should do readings there and she agreed and so, here we are!

HB: Oh, I love when life lines up like that.

MS: Yes, that’s an amazing, synchronistic story and I believe the more we trust our own synchronicity the more we surrender to life, then the more we’ll have moments like that where we’re just in the right place at the right time and everything is in alignment. So that’s how I met Julie.

HB: So, how long have you been in Alameda?

MS: I’ve been in Alameda about three and a half years and I love it here. I lived in Maui and Kuai and came back to the bay area looking for a place that kind of felt like Hawaii and I live right near Crab Cove which really does remind me of Hawaii. I have a little stand-alone beach cottage here and I paddle board out near my home and at Jack London. So, it’s as close to living like I did in Hawaii but also close to the creativity that’s alive in Alameda and Oakland!

I love being able to go through the tunnel and into Oakland. It reminds me of the Mission, I used to live in the Mission twenty years ago and I think Oakland is culturally on fire right now, it’s playing an important role in the bay area, in a beautiful and organic way.

HB: I agree, it’s so exciting to be a part of what’s happening creatively in the east bay right now! So, what do you recall about walking into Julie’s that gave you the idea you wanted to do something here?

MS: Well, her food here at the cafe is very healing and I was looking for that in Alameda. I feel it’s very important what you put in your body whether it’s psychically, physically, emotionally, nutritionally or mentally. There is a very nourishing and grounded energy here.

HB: When we first opened Julie and I collaborated on the menu and it was important to grow it slowly and mindfully. It’s been exciting to see how Julie has developed such a soulful, delicious and nourishing menu over the years. It’s different but at the same time accessible. People can start with a salad and then get adventurous and try the tea soaked quinoa with seaweed and edemame. 

MS: Yes, I love that. I think it’s very alchemical. The work I do is about mixing things together to create something different. When you think of energy work it is really about shifting the alchemy of your body and of your life to create something new. I love that quinoa and miso served with tea, it’s so interactive.

HM: Yes, I love it because it’s different, there is a slowing down, a ritual to preparing it at your table.

MS: Yes, it is ritualistic and it slows you down. I find that at a cafe, especially this one, you get to slow down and enjoy. I think it’s important to slow down and have that stillness in our lives. It allows us to think, feel and integrate. We can get swept up in the idea that chaos equals success.

HB: I agree. My personal goal right now is to start each day in a slowed down and more compassionate space and I come back to that throughout the day. I find the more I slow down and see what’s right in front of me the more gratitude I have for my life and those who are around me. Then when I add compassion to it, I am gentler to myself and those around me. It is a really sweet way to view your life. And it also lets you be more in tune into your intuition and recognize that synchronicity because you are not rushing to the next experience. 

MS: Yes, it’s funny, I teach a class on synchronicity, receptivity and the magnetic potential of the body and it is about stillness and slowness. So, through listening we open up that receptive force. I think so many of us are taught that we need to go out and achieve, activate and create. There’s a whole other force that gets ignored in our busy life that, that slowing down stillness that allows for the listening, activates the magnetism in our body and it draws to us those synchronistic experiences like when I met with Julie. I work with the energy fields, I studied Energy Medicine for three and a half years at the School of Intuitive Medicine in Sausalito and I mostly approach the intuitive work I do by reading people’s energy fields.

It’s interesting, when people are sourcing from that future part of themselves you can see they are literally forcing their mind out of their current selves and somewhere in the future where they think their supposed to be. That’s a mental creation and when you can gently work with a client to listen to their heart and body, their body only wants to live in present time, it’s not worried about the future, that worry is only in the mind. So then we get to allow or train the mind to trust the body more, trust your heart, be in the present and be more in a place of compassion. We can then allow ourselves to be gentler, gentler on ourselves and others. We are so hard on our selves, living in such a perfectionist state of being that we’re hurting ourselves. So often we have been trained to be our own worst enemy so self love and self compassion is the basis for the work I do. It’s empowering to really love yourself!

HB: It is! Learning not to be hard on yourself and start tapping into your intuition and inner wisdom is so powerful! This is why I love coaching artists and performers because they can be so self critical but when that inner voice becomes a supporter rather than a critic they have access to so much more creativity it’s mind blowing!

Well, II think this a natural place for us to stop, although I could talk with you all day! Thank you for taking the time to share what it is you do and a little bit about why you enjoy being here at Julie’s!

MS: It’s been a lovely time, thanks.
For more info, testimonials, mini-meditations and The Mary Spicer Radio Show Archive go to

For more information about Heidi Bennett, Creative Life Coach go to




Customer Profile: Sandy Blaine


CUSTOMER NAME: Sandy Blaine 

OCCUPATION: Yoga Teacher and Wellness Consultant


Heidi Bennett – So, when did you first start coming to Julie’s?

Sandy Blaine – I guess, about eight years ago. I saw an ad, it looked like a cool place and now I come here on a regular basis! This is my choice when I want to get out of the house to write, answer emails etc. There are other cafes I go to in Berkeley and Oakland but Julie’s is my favorite cafe in the east bay.

HB – What has made you a long time Julie’s customer.

SB – The extremely friendly atmosphere and the healthy, delicious food. I can always get a clean, organic meal here at a reasonable price. I buy loose leaf tea here to take home. I bring people here, especially people who are visiting from out of town. I’ve had gathering in Julie’s upstairs parlor.

HB – What kind of gatherings have you had?

SB – It’s a great space and I’ve had meetings with my yoga teachers there.

HB – What do you think might surprise people about Julie’s.

SB – That you now serve alcohol (laughs) – I really like that. I don’t drink very often but every once in a while…

HB – What is your favorite order at Julie’s?

SB – Well, it depends on the day. I like to get a cup of soup and the cheese plate, I had a Friday night Sangria at the end of the week and I love that.

HB- Any tips for people new to Julie’s.

SB – The back patio is a wonderful place on a sunny day. Come back and check out the flowers on the patio.

HB – Thank you so much Sandy. It was great to sit down and talk “Julie’s” with you

Learn more about Sandy:

Heidi Bennett is a Creative Life Coach and lives in Oakland, CA. She enjoys frolicking with her rescued Tibetan Spaniel, Poki, getting to ride her beach cruiser to yoga, singing with her brother in an old time bluegrass band, meeting friends for tea at Julie’s, and hosting barbecues with her husband. Learn more about her coaching practice at:


Customer Profile: Fred Branaman

Heidi Bennett was Julie’s first employee and original manager for the first four years of business. She’s since moved on to become a Certified Professional Life Coach, but loves the cafe so deeply she continues to work with Julie as her promotional assistant. Her latest cafe related venture is interviewing customers and employees. We hope you enjoy getting to know our community as much as she has.

CUSTOMER NAME: Fred Branaman

OCCUPATION: Electrical Distribution Technician for Alameda Municipal Power


Heidi Bennett: Hi Fred. Thanks for taking the time to talk with me! Tell me about your job with Alameda Power.

Fred Branaman: I work in the engineering department. We design high voltage / low voltage systems for new businesses in Alameda; all the new businesses and even residential solar. I’ve worked with Joel (Julie’s husband) on residential solar projects, in fact he’s going to install solar on the building we’re in (Julie’s!)

HB-So you live in Alameda?

FB – Yes, over near Philip Neri School.

HB – Do you go to Encinal Market?

FB – Yes, all the time!

HB – I’m surprised I haven’t run into you there, I go there all the time myself!

FB – Well, we do see each other all the time at Yo Jimbo’s, it’s my favorite place for Japanese food.

HB – Well, it’s mine too, I just went there for lunch! Conveniently right next to Julie’s and such nice owners. Very accommodating and sweet.

So, when did you first start coming to Julie’s?

FB – Oh, when it opened. I inspected the electrical, I knew it was going to be a coffee house and so I started meeting my friend and co-worker George here for coffee at 2:00pm each day. It started out as a business meeting and turned into more of a social occasion.

HB – What has made you a long time Julie’s customer.

FB – I like the people here, I like the atmosphere and I like the vegan food. I’ve been a vegan now for 8 years and Julie’s has really good food and options for eating and drinking vegan. Soy milk, oat milk, pastries too! I’ve really gotten to know the people that work here and some have even become house sitters while I’m out of town. I’ve become good friends with long time previous employees like Karen, Ivel and you. I even attended your engagement party here at Julie’s!

HB – This is a question I wrote with you in mind. How have your ordering habits changed over the years?

FB – I came in a coffee drinker and turned into a tea drinker. I mostly drink herbal teas and green teas now. At home I have a tea pot and in fact, I drink so much tea now that when we remodeled our kitchen I added a hot tap so I always have hot water at the ready.

HB – that’s so awesome!

FB – Coming to Julie’s turned me into a tea drinker. I share a pot of tea with friends or my wife Donna. She loves to come in and get breakfast on the weekends after hitting the yard sales. We bring friends here for dinner sometimes then head to the movies and our carnivorous friends like the food here too.

HB – I love eating the egg dishes and vegan stuff too.

FB – When I became a vegan it was easy to keep coming here because there are so many options. Peet’s has a few vegan pastries but Julie’s has house made, organic pastries, salads, soups, such a variety and so fresh! And it’s a local place, it’s not a chain, that’s another reason to love Julie’s. It’s not a corporate mentality, It’s got Julie’s personality!

HB – Yup, all over it!

F – I love the live music, it’s always nice to bring your friends and they’ll be treated well and have a good experience.

HB – What is your favorite order at Julie’s right now.

FB – The Patty Salad. I like the soups but the Patty Salad is always a winner. It’s available earlier in the day than the soup and that works for me because I start work at six thirty in the morning. The house made sauerkraut is absolutely delicious. I love getting it on the side. The vegan pumpkin muffins are great too.

HB – What do you think might surprise people about Julie’s.

FB – Hmm, the garden. I think people might walk by and not realize how big the garden is, in the back. Most of the time the weather is perfect and that’s where I’ll be, in the garden. Also, just how good the food is here. Even stuff that I don’t eat, like the grilled cheese sandwich, it’s something people absolutely rave about.

HB – do you have any special Julie’s memories?

FB – I met a woman in Marin at a silent retreat and we knew each other from Julie’s. That was just kind of cool to recognize someone who was another Julie’s regular outside of the immediate area.

Another thing is, my friend George, who I’ve been meeting with here since day one has now become a vegetarian. Trying the food here really helped him make that transition. He had some serious health issues and his doctor told him he needed to make a major change in what he was eating so Julie’s helped out in that transition. Something kinda fun is that I have a mannequin that I take pictures of at different landmarks and I brought her in so that Karen could pretend to serve her coffee and I could take a picture.

HB – You are describing much of what we wanted to provide when Julie’s opened. A community space where you feel comfortable and want to bring your friends to share the experience, and you can come here by yourself and feel a sense of community.

FB – It brings the younger people in, it brings everyone in, it feels open to all.

HB- Any tips for people new to Julie’s.

FB – Yes, take a look at the menu. You’ll find specials listed on the boards, but the menu is full of fun. Ask about the teas. Everyone is knowledgeable, accessible, and can teach you about water temperature, steep time etc. It’s a friendly and approachable way to learn about tea.

HB – Thank you so much Fred, it was a pleasure to sit and spend time with you!

Heidi Bennett is a Certified Professional Life Coach and lives in Oakland, CA. She enjoys frolicking with her rescued Tibetan Spaniel, Poki, getting to ride her beach cruiser to yoga, singing with her brother in an old time bluegrass band, meeting friends for tea at Julie’s, and hosting barbecues with her husband. Learn more about her coaching practice at:




Customer Profile: Jennifer Serr

We are excited to present the first of our customer interviews!
Jennifer Serr of
Sewing with Jennifer Serr shares her Julie’s stories with Heidi Bennett, long time friend and colleague of Julie’s…read on!

Customer Name: Jennifer Serr

Occupation:  Owner and lead instructor at the Sewing Room in Alameda

City of residence: Alameda

Heidi Bennett: When did you start coming to Julie’s?

Jennifer Serr:
About 8 years ago

HB: What has made you a long time customer?

JS: Julie’s feels like an extension of my home. It’s really comfortable. I like what’s on the menu, it’s really healthy and there are plenty of Gluten Free options.. Julie’s always has the tea I want, prepared the way I want and then served to me and it’s just perfect.

HB: So, that makes it better than home!

I really like the décor, the music, the people. I’ve met lot’s of people here that I’ve had long relationships with. I met Sue here and after chatting we realized we lived on the same street, we had daughters that were interested in similar things, and we had a lot in common. I met you (Heidi) and I met Julie. I continue to come back and have meetings with groups, and meet new people all the time. In fact, there’s five people in here right now that I know, so it feels very familiar and cozy.

HB: What do you think might surprise people about Julie’s?

I think it might be the food. How carefully thought out the food is and the intention of wellness behind it. It’s delicious but it’s also meant to nourish you in many ways.

HB: How have your ordering habits changed over the years?

Well, they definitely have changed over the years, because when I first started coming in I only ordered tea. Then, when she started offering more food, I started having the food, and then when she started offering the wine, I started drinking the wine. It’s definitely evolved with Julie and what she’s offered. This tea I’m drinking for instance, the Pu-erh, I asked for a strong tea and it was suggested to me and now it’s my staple tea.

HB:What is your favorite order at Julie’s?

If I come for breakfast it’s the granola or the baked eggs. For lunch I love the Bunny Salad. For dinner it’s would be soup or salad. I’d love to see a heartier, warm polenta dish, and an occasional meat dish as a dinner offering.

HB: Do you have any favorite Julie’s stories?

 JS: Julie and I were caught in a fashion exchange that ended up being covered in Alameda Patch. Julie bought a shirt from me in my Etsy store and I brought it in and the editor of Alameda Patch was here so it became a local news blurb.

HB: Any tips for a someone new to Julies?

JS: Try new things! Oh, and take your cell phone calls out front 

HB: Thank you for taking the time to share your Julie’s experience, Jennifer!

JS: My pleasure, I LOVE Julie’s!

Curious about Jennifer’s Sewing Room and sewing classes?
Find her at: