“What do you want for supper?” I said into the phone as I drove home from work. It was 5:55 PM, and I had a hankering for bierocks.
“Doesn’t matter to me. I need to study, so let’s do something quick,” said my wife. I did a mini fist pump.
“I’ll get some bierocks at Gillispie! I saw the sign out today.”
I turned right off of main street onto Broadway, made it across the railroad tracks without being held up by a train (no small feat, as all Newtonians know), and pulled up in front of Gillispie’s small, well-trimmed building and strained to see if the well-loved “Bierocks” sign was still up in the window. It was, so I went in and ordered four—two for our supper, two for tomorrow’s lunch. But in my daze of excitement over German food, I forgot one little detail: Gillispie Meats only accepts cash or checks; so when the total was given to me my debit card was as useless as a Peso in an English pub. By now it was almost 6:00 PM (closing time for Gillispie), and I had no hope of making it home and back before then. But before I had a chance to despair the cheerful employee said, “No problem! Just run home, and I’ll stay open ‘till you get back.” I thanked him over and over, promised I’d be back as quick as I could and raced home for the checkbook.
My wife and I ate bierocks for supper that night because an employee of a small business in Newton was willing to keep his store open for one measly customer. And this is no isolated incident. On a similar occasion, Gillispie saved Valentine’s dinner by letting my wife take a KC Strip steak home and bring a check by later.
Not only is Gillispie Meats one of the most quaint, good-smelling, friendly shops in town, they do solid business. Their customers are more than pieces of their bottom line. As it turns out it's that very thing that makes customers like me want to give them their business and, hopefully, contribute to their financial success.
Now I have no German heritage. I’m mostly Dutch, so my opinion can’t officially count on bierocks and other Teutonic topics (like sauerkraut and engineering), but in my estimation those bierocks were perfect and all the better for being sold with such kindness and good feeling.
Well done, Gillispie meats; well done.
R. Eric Tippin
In The Study on 8th Street