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Grayson Coffee House dedicates new deck built by customers

Grayson – The morning of Friday, Sept. 30 dawned bright and chilly, the perfect morning for a cup of delicious coffee and catching up with friends. The Grayson Coffee House was bustling with people inside and out, and the excitement and celebration were palpable.

GECC members with Grayson Coffee House owners, Kerin Fraunfelder, Cindy Bruce, and Allison Grier (center), at the ribbon cutting and dedication of the new deck.

That was the morning that the owners of the business officially opened and dedicated the beautiful new deck, built for them by customers in a Grace New Hope Christian men’s group that has met there once a week, for the past year and a half. In fact that Friday morning was the perfect picture of everything that’s great about small, local businesses.

Tom Rau was one of the men who was instrumental in building the deck, which is charmingly tucked in between an old pecan tree and a stately magnolia. “It couldn’t be in a better location, could it?” Tom asked fellow businessman-turned-builder Bill Potter. Both men think of Grayson Coffee House as a vital community fixture, much like a park or a community center.  

yesweareopen190Right: Grayson Coffee House remains open during road project on Grayson Pkwy.

“We love meeting here. We like coming in and seeing our men’s group written up (on the window) along with the other groups who meet here,” said Tom. “And we just love these ladies. We had been meeting here a little over a year, when we told Allison (Grier, a co-owner), ‘you need a deck out there.’ And here we are.”

Bill Potter, a retired businessman, was instrumental in getting all the i’s dotted and the t’s crossed with respect to paperwork and inspections. Phillip Nathan, a contractor by trade, got the ladies at the coffee house a significant discount on the building materials required for the project, all of which came from Home Depot. All three men donated their time and labor. Tom and Bill proudly walked the perimeter of the deck, remarking and laughing about the things they learned along the way. “We’re not carpenters. We just love this place and the ladies who run it, and we wanted to do something nice for them,” Tom said.

4fikjs190Left: (L-R) Cindy Bruce, Tom Rau, Allison Grier, Bill Potter, and Kerin Fraunfelder.

One thing the men learned was that August is probably the worst month of the year to start building anything outside. “We tried to get as early a start as possible, because boy, was it hot,” Bill said. Tom told about hand-cutting the many posts around the entire deck which are spaced about 6 in. apart. “We were able to save a lot of money by cutting those ourselves,” he said. Both men talked about a teenage boy, the grandson of one of the men in the church group, who had never touched a power tool in his life. “He spent a lot of time out here, and he loved it,” Bill said.

The men started construction on the deck in August, and about 3 weeks later, it was finished. On the morning of the dedication and as a result of a series of coincidences, members of the Greater Eastside Chamber of Commerce (GECC) held their monthly get-together at Grayson Coffee House. Before the ribbon-cutting ceremony, several members mentioned that they hold meetings at the coffee house. Some said they actually do some work while enjoying the atmosphere at the coffee house. Still others said that they love Grayson Coffee House because when they walk through the door, they know that they will see a lot of people who know their name.  “Every community needs a coffee house. We’re just lucky to have this one,” said Tom.

In other words, Grayson Coffee House is valued and supported by people in the Grayson community. In turn, they buy Jittery Joe’s brand of coffee from the roaster in Athens. They sell popsicles from King of Pops, an Atlanta company. And now their delectable pastries, scones and sandwiches are made in house by some very talented young women, Joy Robinson and Katherine Cowan (“Joy” and “Katt,” to the regulars). This thriving business just celebrated its second anniversary on Sept. 19, and every day, new customers walk in alongside longtime customers.  In two short years the coffee house, with its funky, eclectic atmosphere, is a home-away-from-home to many. 

deck1190“I can’t say too much about (today), or I’ll start crying,” Grier said when asked to say a few words at the ribbon cutting. Co-owner Cindy Bruce said, “This deck just opens up more room for people to gather, sit and enjoy. That’s why we’re here, and we’re so grateful to this group of men for their generosity.”

deck2190Right: Tom, Bill, and the grandson of a group member of the mens group building the deck.

“This (road) construction has worried us at times,” Grier said, referring to the project at Grayson Parkway and Rosebud Road. “It’s supposed to be complete in December, and we’re just crossing our fingers, hoping that customers will continue to come by.” While the restaurants and shops along Grayson Parkway near Rosebud Road are open for business, passersby may think it’s too difficult to reach the entrance. Not so. “We’re glad that this (deck) construction has been going on and that people see it. That way, they know we’re here and we’re open,” Bruce said.

A close look at the fresh wood rail of the deck reveals small metal plates with the engraved words “Laus Deo,” on them.  Translated, the Latin words mean, “Praise be to God.” Those same words grace the metal cap atop the Washington Monument, but on that September Friday morning, there was no structure finer or more important to the owners and loyal customers of Grayson Coffee House.  

Grayson Coffee House is located at 502 Grayson Parkway in Grayson, For more information, visit