For 15 years, Jerry Haskell of Lanesboro has been taking morning cheer to scores of satisfied Pittsfield customers, and estimates he's driven a million miles doing it. Jerry takes coffee and pastries to some 25 city establishments where employees buy and consume on the premises.
This is a convenience to the help, and management rather beams on it, since it keeps people inside the plant during coffee breaks. And on stormy days, Jerry is twice-blessed. His business jumps 20 to 30 percent. If given a choice, he would take snow rather than rain "which soaks everything, including me," he says. "Snow can be brushed off."
Jerry covers his breakfast route in a double-cab Volkswagen truck, with a metal roof over the pickup truck bed in which he carries his hot coffee, hot chocolate, tea, milk and pastries. The double-cab feature provides space for extra coffee cartons and other supplies he uses in abundance on his route.
On an average day of his six-day week, Jerry sells about 10-dozen rolls, an equal number of pastries and 20 dozen doughnuts. These he buys from a local bakery. The coffee he makes himself in his kitchen or "laboratory" rented in Pittsfield. Each morning he brews 30 gallons which he transfers from the urn to a battery of thermos bottles and a few five-gallon thermos jugs to take on the road.
"For every hour on the road," says he, "I spend an hour in the lab." Pastries are sorted, the truck stocked, a number of coffee cartons are made ready and the jugs filled. To do this, Jerry arises at 1 a.m., drives to the lab and is busy until 5.
His delivery day is brief and swift; from 8 to 10:30, during which time he must make his 25 stops, serve his customers, and cover the miles. After 10:30 he finds people are through with morning coffee, and thinking about lunch. But the 2 1/2 hours are hectic. "It's intriguing," says he, "because everything moves so fast, and the time flies."
His stops include garages, offices and similar establishments, including The Eagle composing room. He arrives on the scene briskly, bearing trays of food and eight thermos jugs in a carrier similar to those used by milkmen. He sets up shop on a handy table or workbench, and fills orders quickly, swiftly and efficiently as the customers crowd around.