To the Editor:
I’m crying in the middle of Greenberry’s in Morristown. A bit over four years ago without knowing a soul, I moved here rather unexpectedly. I knew after being told that the town had a coffee shop, which allows dogs, that it was the place for me. I’m a teacher who goes there often with an armload of essays and my Wheaton Terrier, Lulu. She even has a pink Greenberry’s t-shirt, which the owner, Jason, ordered especially for her years ago. It’s hot pink with the Greenberry’s logo that fits her as a Jersey muscle shirt ought to—tight across the back.
“She’s our mascot,” he had said. “We’ll hang a photo of her on the wall.” I meant to snap a picture but somehow there was always more time. It was too hot out for a t-shirt or too cold and called for a sweater.
Then on Jan. 10, my dog walker, Ashley Cook, texted me midday: “Greenberry’s is closing … for good.”
“I’m so sad, my dog’s favorite place in the world is going out of business.” I announced to my next class of freshmen as I moped into my classroom. Sure, I’ve heard of people bemoaning the demise of mom & pop hardware stores, and I remember when the dreaded “Wal-Mart” moved into my small hometown in Louisiana. It took less than a year for the Cajun family stores with signs like “Broussard’s Fishing Tackle” to disappear from the landscape. That was sad but nothing like when “Bad Big Brother” moved in across the Green. Ever since I saw the fateful signage, I’ve been dreading what I hoped was not inevitable.
“We should sign a petition,” I texted Ashley back. “Hold a fundraiser.”
And so, I wanted to say on behalf of all our four-legged best friends, please find another space and come back.
Greenberry’s continuously displayed the work of local artists as well as being the sight of pet adoptions; they’ve collected coats for the local homeless and these are only the community-helping projects that I happened to have witnessed while enjoying a caramel apple cider. I’ve come to learn that Jason was always, as Ashley Cook said, “willing, dog friendly, supported everything Morristown and gave character to a downtown overwhelmed with big chains.”
I always enjoyed stopping in for a Commuter (hold the avocado). But as for Lulu, the second she gets her paws on the Green, a great force of will begins to pull her toward Greenberry’s where treats await her on the counter. I’m sure that she and many other Morristown pups will be pulling across the Green and standing, paw raised, ready to shake in front of an empty storefront.
Greenberry’s is as a part of Morristown as its gallant portrait of George Washington crossing the Delaware. Maybe it’s as my fiancé said—a sad product of gentrification when the great "S" moves into town.
Morristown is Shangri-La, I always tell people. Imagine a town where you can bring your dog into the coffee shop and be greeted with a “Hi, Lu!” followed by a treat. Sure, I suppose I could tie Lulu onto the fence of that other joint. Tie her up while I sit in the warmth or the air-conditioning, but I’d rather give up coffee altogether and being a transplant from Louisiana with chicory in her veins—that is a mighty large statement.
Please help the effort to bring Greenberry’s back by emailing me: Alisha Davlin at firstname.lastname@example.org or Ashley Cook at email@example.com.
–Alisha Davlin, Morristown