Nancy and Barry Garton have been in the food service business for more than three decades. They are retiring after the operating Brewhaha for the last 23 years.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Brewhaha owners Nancy and Barry Garton have sold the cafe and are looking forward to a well-deserved break.
Although, saying goodbye has not been easy.
"To me, it has always been the relationships with our people. I love it here and the fact that they appreciate what we try to do," Nancy said on Monday. "When I look back I think that is what has made us successful. The support and the memories have really made it all worthwhile because it has been hard work. Really hard work."
The Gartons opened Brewhaha on Marshall Street in 2000. Before that, they had operated the Miss Adams Diner in Adams since 1989. They made the move to the old West End Market in 2018 — a dozen years after purchasing the historic neighborhood market.
"Barry will say that you have to be present as the owner," Nancy said. "You have to do things with quality, care, and a little flair."
Barry added that has always been the way they conducted their businesses.
"We have been in the food industry since the '70s so everything has been a continuation of that," Barry said. "High-quality ingredients and just banging away at it."
Monday was Brewhaha's last day open after announcing last week that they had a buyer for business and building, which has been on the market for some time. The Gartons invited patrons down for one last cup of coffee Monday and to present some of the mementos from the cafe for sale.
During the interview, Nancy's eyes kept trailing toward the door as another longtime customer came in to say goodbye.
"They're happy for us and sad for themselves. They want our home address so they can come for breakfast," Nancy said. "That has been the theme with everyone. No one wants to lose touch. People are going to miss the ability to just come down here and hang out, relax and have a place to be a community."
She tearfully quoted some of the sentiments from a guest journal they left open throughout the day saying people have written that Brewhaha was a hidden gem, cozy, and was home to many.
"We just had some sort of knack. I am a yapper and Barry is creative and the hardest-working person I have ever met in my life," she said. "He works from sun up to sun down, and I like to socialize."
It was difficult to tell that Brewhaha was closing for the final time Monday afternoon as Barry pinged around the kitchen whipping up orders like it was any other day.
Barry hasn't really thought about closing up shop quite yet.
"I will miss it when I am gone because when you have your nose to the grindstone from 6 in the morning until 6 at night it is hard to think about what you will miss," Barry said.
Still in the moment, when asked about what he plans to do next Barry answered literally: loading, unpacking, getting rid of junk.
When asked about retirement he didn't have an answer.
"I don't know. I can't relate to the word yet," he said. Maybe sooner or later."
Nancy didn't have much to say about the new owner but noted they purchased the building and equipment. She guesses it will remain some kind of restaurant.
"We wanted a buyer who wanted to see the building keep going and they purchased the building and all the equipment," she said. "We know nothing beyond that."
Both in their 70s, Nancy said it was time to move on as time was catching up with them
"We are too old and it is hard to be a line cook with a line out the door. Just the pace is hard to keep up with," she said. "But I know there will be moments when I will miss cooking. I love putting out a plate that looks beautiful. I like making people happy. I am going to miss that."
"I am going to miss my people, the hugs, the love, every single person even the strangers. I like to win people over, I like to make people happy, and I am going to miss that."
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