North East Gro­cer cof­fee club grows


While I was out and about ... I got a mes­sage from Ed Taylor, of North East, last week that led me on an ad­ven­ture to the Ce­cil County Christmas Pa­rade on Satur­day. I would have at­tended re­gard­less, but Taylor piqued my cu­rios­ity about a new float en­tered this year.

It was the Re­treads Cof­fee Club that meets daily at the North East Gro­cer at 6 a.m. Yes, that’s right 6 a.m. They are early ris­ers. Partly be­cause most of them are re­tired.

In­deed, Taylor tells me the group is all men, but they’ve had a fe­male mem­ber in the past. “She moved,” Taylor said. Some of the guys are still work­ing, like Rob Crouch, who runs Crouch Funeral Home, Dr. Joseph Gwiaz­dowski, a den­tist in town, and Joe Gargiulo, owner of North East Gro­cer, where the guys meet. Oth­ers are re­tired en­gi­neers from DuPont, for­mer teach­ers, for­est rangers, builders, po­lice­men and boat re­pair men.

Oh, yea, most of them are Repub­li­cans and staunch Trump sup­port­ers. The one or two Democrats have to sit in the cor­ner, Taylor said with a laugh

What do they talk about? Pol­i­tics mostly, but Taylor said they like to joke and in­sult one an­other.

“It pays to be thick-skinned to be in our group,” he said.

A sim­ple sign hangs over the door way into the din­ing room at North East Gro­cer that says, “Old Guys Rule.” That likely tells more about the group than I could be­gin to re­veal.

Even though they’ve been meet­ing for years with the size of the group con­stantly fluc­tu­at­ing, they’ve never done a big fundraiser like they did this year and of course, they never en­tered a float in the pa­rade ei­ther.

“I don’t know how it got started, prob­a­bly Joe,” Taylor said, talk­ing about the gro­cer.

Any­way, the guys reached into their own pock­ets and do­nated enough money for Joe to buy about 180 tur­keys they are do­nat­ing to lo­cal churches to give away to needy fam­i­lies this Christmas.

They’ve talked about mak­ing a float for the pa­rade be­fore, but fi­nally got it to­gether this year. It was dec­o­rated in hol­i­day greens, adorned with large dolls, but car­ried sev­eral mem­bers of the Re­treads Cof­fee Club eat­ing dough­nuts and drink­ing cof­fee from North East Gro­cer, while wav­ing at the hun­dreds of fam­i­lies along the pa­rade route.

Can’t wait un­til next year! Great job guys!

*** I found out that Dee Marotta, of North East, is cer­tainly in the hol­i­day spirit.

This New Jer­sey trans­plant who loves an­i­mals, mostly cats, has or­ga­nized a “Hol­i­day Drive” in her com­mu­nity of Charlestown Cross­ing Apart­ments.

Marotta’s drive will ben­e­fit Ce­cil County An­i­mal Ser­vices.

Her wish list in­cludes: dry kit­ten chow, canned pâté cat food, dry cat food, canned dog food, pedi­gree dog food, busy bones, pet toys, small plas­tic car­ri­ers, foster fam­i­lies and “fur-ever” homes.

The cam­paign has al­ready started, but it’s not too late to help. Just drop off a do­na­tion at the Charlestown Cross­ing Club­house by Jan. 15.

She tells me that any­one who do­nates will re­ceive a coupon from VCA Elkton An­i­mal Hos­pi­tal for a free ini­tial pet ex­am­i­na­tion. For more in­for­ma­tion, con­tact Marotta at 609-915-9833.

Sounds like a win-win to me. Just­sayin.

*** The Her­trich Fam­ily of Au­to­mo­bile Deal­er­ships, which has a lo­ca­tion on Route 40 in Elkton, re­cently opened Her­trich Buick GMC of Sal­is­bury.

The new deal­er­ship op­er­ated pre­vi­ously as Price Buick GMC. It’s the Her­trich’s first busi­ness ven­ture into the Sal­is­bury com­mu­nity.

*** Ce­cil County Tourism is host­ing an open house from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Fri­day, Dec. 9, at its new of­fice at 124 W. Main St. in Elkton.

If you go, stick around town for Elkton’s 8th an­nual “Cookie Throw Down” from 5 to 8 p.m. where shop­pers get to sam­ple home­made cook­ies at all of the stores and cast a vote for the win­ning cookie. It’s a lot of fun.

If you have any tid­bits to share with Ch­eryl Mattix for this col­umn, you may con­tact her at cmat­tix@ce­cil­, or call her at 443-907-8440.


Re­treads Cof­fee Club, a long-run­ning in­for­mal North East group, en­tered its first float in the Ce­cil County Christmas Pa­rade this year.


Ed Taylor is a mem­ber of Re­treads Cof­fee Club that meets daily at North East Gro­cer.

been any­thing like it be­fore.

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