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Regulars-Personal Touches Keep Things Familiar



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Personal Touches Keep Things Familiar

By Nancy K. Crevier

Mike Palumbo, the owner of Mocha Coffee House, and Jan Gerry, its manager, work hard at making the coffee shop on Glen Road feel like home. Tall tables and chairs near the back windows allow customers to view the rumbling Pootatuck River that rushes along behind the building. Comfortable, upholstered chairs, arranged sitting room-style, invite a long stay over a hot cup of joe. That, along with the board games available and live music in the evening, makes Mocha a draw for the clientele Mr Palumbo and Ms Gerry count on seeing every day.

As she deftly serves up a cappuccino for a customer, Ms Gerry says, “By 7 am I know who is coming in and what they want. We hear the word ‘cozy’ a lot to describe this place.”

“It’s a place to network,” says Mr Palumbo. “Every day we come in here and hear what is new with [our regular customers].”

At 11 am, Ms Gerry looks for one of their regular customers at least three days of the week, former Newtown Health & Fitness owner George Arfaras. She stops short of actually putting his muffin on a plate, even though it would be a big surprise if he changed his order. “He likes our low-fat muffin,” she says.

What Mr Arfaras wants, he says, is just a place to sit and have a cup of coffee and read when he finishes his morning workout. Mocha provides him with that, whether he has the place to himself or the place is bustling with activity.

“It’s convenient,” he says. “I appreciate the people and Mike. Anytime you open a business you go out on a limb. It’s a very comfortable place to come.”

He is also impressed with the high level of accommodation Mr Palumbo and Ms Gerry will go to in order to please their customers.

“I like a blueberry muffin without sugar,” he says, “and they started making them for me. Other people buy them now, too, but they didn’t have to do that.”

During the day, moms and toddlers fill the chairs, as do groups such as the knitting group that gathers there every Friday at 9 am.

“We come in and have a coffee or some hot chocolate,” says knitting member Maggie Mahony, “and then we get down to knitting. Mike has been so generous with the space. Mocha’s is just so comfortable. It’s like being in your family room. The atmosphere is so conducive to knitting and chatting. We love it.”

“It’s the ‘It’ factor that brings them in,” explains Mr Palumbo. “That and good coffee.”

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