by Kristin Lundbye
When Dick Greiser, owner of the gas station/antique and curiosities shop at the corner of Center and Westport Roads, closed the deli portion of the Easton landmark that had been in his family since 1926, some might have wondered what would become of the place. After all, Greiser Store has been part of the daily lives of Eastonites for almost a century.
So it was for Adrienne Burke who, in her eight years in Easton, had many occasions to stop in. But each time she drove by the historic storefront, she envisioned something different. She even broached the subject with Dick letting him know that she would love an opportunity to discuss the future of the store with him.
In June 2017 Dick announced he would no longer operate the deli, sparking Adrienne to put her plan into action. It took a year and a half of hard work and a fair amount of serendipitous coincidence, but Adrienne’s vision is now a reality. Since November 1, 2018, Greiser’s Coffee and Market has been open for business, welcoming familiar faces and new ones too, and etching a re-envisioned image of the iconic shop into the minds of Eastonites and visitors alike.
Take a close look around as you sip your nitro-brewed coffee and you’ll find traces of the store’s history. As many things that are different in the “new” Greiser’s, so many connections remain. The hummingbird apostrophe in the new name? Adrienne found the original antique etching at an Easton estate sale and thought it would make the perfect addition to her logo, never knowing that Dick and his late wife (known as Toni, but whose given name was also Adrienne) loved watching the birds in their yard. The eclectic chandelier hanging over the table? It was handmade by Danyel Ferrari, Toni and Dick’s daughter, from Adrienne’s personal eggbeater collection. The coffee mugs on the top shelf of the hutch near the entrance? They belong to the original “Greiser’s gang,” who congratulated Adrienne with a hummingbird card signed by each of them, now displayed behind the counter. The Helen Keller bust next to the green cabinet? Adrienne had her eye on the sculpture from the first time she visited the store. Dick presented it to her on opening day. And the Helen Keller quote that hung in Adrienne’s office from the time she was in her 20s? It reads, in part, “Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” Apropos for the risk Adrienne took to embark on her new business venture.
Still, the investment wasn’t Adrienne’s alone. Without the support of her husband, Jeff Foster, and collaboration from a tremendous number of friends and neighbors, Greiser’s Coffee and Market might not exist. Too many to name, Easton residents offered their assistance in drawing floor plans, reviewing marketing and merchandising concepts, completing a formal P&Z analysis, building the cabinetry, installing the point of sale and sound systems, providing baked goods, and even jumping behind the counter to serve customers on opening day. The help suggests another famous Helen Keller adage: “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
It only takes a moment inside the store to understand that Adrienne has created exactly what she set out to: a place where shoppers can enjoy a great cup of coffee while they browse locally sourced goods; a place where friends can gather for a quick hello and a bite to eat; a place where moms and daughters can catch up over a cup of cocoa; a place where neighbors can congregate to build the spirit of community. Greiser’s Coffee and Market is, as Adrienne hoped, “as much about the product as it is the experience.”
And if you’re in the market for a tank of gas or an antique curiosity, you can still find Dick Greiser in the back room of the Easton landmark.
KRISTIN LUNDBYE IS AN EDITOR FOR EASTON NEIGHBORS MAGAZINE.
Article reprinted with permission from Easton Neighbors