Staples High and Bedford Middle School students know Christie’s is the place to go after school — and before. (Sometimes during, too).
Neighbors know the country store/deli is the place to go when power is out. Somehow, owner John Hooper keeps everyone fed, hydrated, warm (or cool) and happy.
Now Nicole Gerber knows Christie’s is the place to go for cumin.
She lives on Woody Lane. Christie’s is around the corner — and it’s become her second kitchen.
“I’m in there all the time,” she says.
She’s throwing a large “Christmakkah” dinner party for 25 people today. John is catering.
On Tuesday, she was at the store talking with him. He was in the midst of pulling together a very last-minute request for 15 sandwiches to feed the hungry vendors at the Westport Front Porch Holiday Market at around-the-corner Wakeman Town Farm. (“He happily stepped into the kitchen and made those sandwiches himself, because the kitchen staff was busy with the lunch rush,” Nicole reports.) She told him about her brisket recipe, and went home.
Much closer to her party — while measuring the ingredients — she ran out of cumin.
“The thought of schlepping all the way out to Stop & Shop for one item was unappealing,” she says.
Christie’s was a long shot — it’s a country store, not a supermarket — but she called. John said, “Come on over! I have cumin. How much do you need?”
Two minutes later, he handed Nicole 2 containers filled with the spice.
She asked John how much she owed.
John smiled. “Nothing!” he said. “That’s what I’m here for.”
Nicole has long loved everyone at Christie’s. The staff knows her name, and her kids’ names. They know her “usual” lunch order.
But that cumin story really takes the cake.