Cash Mob: Coffee Shop Owners Touched by Generosity

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INDEPENDENCE, Ohio --

Fox 8’s first ‘Cash Mob’ was a huge success Wednesday night.

More than 1,000 people lined up at Brielle’s Coffee and Tea Room at 6523 Brecksville Road.

Here’s how it works:

Fox 8 asked our viewers to nominate small local businesses in need of help.

After careful consideration, Brielle’s was chosen for a number of reasons.

The local shop has been in business for 18 years, but had fallen on hard times due to the economy, and a boom in national coffee chains opening up.

In addition to that, the husband and wife who own the shop have health problems and steep medical bills in excess of $20,000 per year.

Tom Giomini suffered a stroke a while back, and his wife, Laura, is battling several forms of cancer.

“Recently, I had a gamma knife procedure for brain tumors,” said Laura, “But I don’t dwell on it, I just live my life.

The Cash Mob was supposed to run from 5-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, February 29, but so many people showed up, the event lasted much longer.

At one point, the line of patrons was so long, it stretched out of the front doors and ran 50 yards down the sidewalk.

After seeing the long line of customers patiently waiting for their food, Tom said, “Speechless! I don’t know how to respond.”

Over the years, as business began declining, the couple had to let go nine of their workers. But many of them returned and volunteered their services for the event.

“They've been so kind so generous,” said Laura.

The couple must also support their daughter who is in college, but they said they weren’t looking for charity, just a chance to give their business a boost.

In fact, they were opposed to the idea when a friend first nominated Brielle’s.

Gretchen Wittig said she wanted to help them because they are two of the kindest most beautiful people she knows.

“I just thank everyone for supporting Tom and Laura, and I hope they continue to come here,” said Gretchen, fighting back tears.

To help make that happen, Marc Albert from IShopCuyahoga.com presented the couple with a large check for about $10,000 in free advertising.

“We’re a small, locally owned business that helps other local businesses in the community,” said Albert.

The gift package includes an App for Brielle’s, free advertising for a year on the IShopCuyahoga.com website, multiple blog reports and improved name recognition for each and every Google search.

Marc said, “If you can’t support your neighbor, who can you support?”

By 10 p.m. the Cash Mob was finally winding down.

Tom, who had been awake and baking since 2 a.m., said he planned to sleep for a couple of hours and return to restock their homemade pastries, wraps and sandwiches.

The event was an enormous success. Customers called it “amazing” and “wonderful.”

While Tom and Laura said simply, "We sincerely appreciate the support.”

They called it the “best day” they’ve ever had since their business opened up 18 years ago.

“Fox 8 has amazing power, and an incredible following,” said Tom. “It's spectacular!”