Tracy Jones’s alarm clock rings at 4 a.m. Tuesday through Sunday. By 5:00, she’s walking into her beloved bakery, Buzz Cafe, in Monrovia, Maryland. It’s time to start baking, since everything on Buzz Cafe’s constantly-changing menu is made from scratch.
At 6:45, she calls home to make sure her sons are awake and ready for school. High school boys tend to like sleeping in, after all. Buzz Cafe opens at 8:00, and Tracy works wherever she can be most helpful—on the line baking, in the front-of-the-house at the register, taking orders, or answering emails and calls.
If Buzz Cafe has unsold items around 1 p.m, Tracy contacts regular customers, offering the items as buy-one-get-one free for the rest of the day. The cafe closes at 3:00, so she cleans up and then drops off any remaining food at the local food bank.
And then? Twelve hours after waking up, it’s time for Tracy to tend to what she’s most passionate about: her family.
Her oldest son, Brian, is a high school senior, so he can now transport himself to band practice. But Richard is a freshman and he’s passionate about theater, so Tracy drops him off and picks him up from his extracurricular activities.
“I’m the maestro of the house, getting everyone where they need to be,” Tracy quips. “It’s a balancing act but everyone in the house is all in on being there for one another.”
Between her work at the bakery, her sons’ after-school activities and her husband’s (Brian Sr.) job, it can be hard for the Jones’s to keep up with one another. Their long-standing dinner tradition helps keep them connected.
Family meals are a big thing for us...It’s time for all of us to come back together, put eyes on each other, and be available to one another.
“Family meals are a big thing for us,” Tracy says. “Dinner is a time where everyone sits down and stops whatever else it is they’re doing. No electronics. It’s time for all of us to come back together, put eyes on each other, and be available to one another.”
Tracy is appreciative of the family time and is grateful for her husband and kids being so supportive of her regular 70+ hour work weeks. After all, it’s Brian Sr. who helped convince her to take ownership of the bakery in the first place.
Decades ago on Tracy and Brian Sr.’s first date, Tracy mentioned her dream of one day owning a bakery that’s a whole lot like present-day Buzz Cafe. Brian Sr. was in the Army, so for 15 years Tracy stayed at home with the family as they moved from Maryland to Georgia to Washington as part of his service. Getting a job proved difficult with a 15-year gap on her resume, but Tracy eventually found work as a baker.
Six months later, the owner was looking to sell. Tracy considered buying it, but was unsure. Brian Sr. reminded her of the dream she laid out on their first date. This June will mark seven years of owning Buzz Cafe. SpotOn has helped drive repeat visits from regulars at the cafe since 2020 with an integrated payment terminal and digital loyalty program, and in Tracy’s words, “made life a whole lot easier.”
While Tracy is proud of how the cafe has grown and the impact it’s had on the local community, she’s a mom and a wife above all, and is most proud of the young men her boys are becoming.
To me, it’s all about raising men who know how to care for the people in their lives.
“I’ve always been big on inclusion and to see that reflected in their behavior is the best feeling in the world,” Tracy says. “At 5’10 and 190 pounds, Richard is a big 15-year-old, but he’s a gentle giant with a tender, sweet heart. Brian was a Boy Scout and he always made sure everyone was included in activities; he’s always the friend to the ‘outsider’ kids. They both are really empathetic young men. To me, it’s all about raising men who know how to care for the people in their lives.”
Tracy’s sons make time for everyone. It’s easy to see who they got that from.