Doyenne of decaf and doughnuts bids farewell

By Kim Howard
Observer staff

When Tom Spencer approached the register at Dunkin’ Donuts last Friday morning, manager Christine Jimmo welcomed him by name.

“Tom, your usual?” Jimmo asked him.

“Yep,” Spencer responded. Every day, even when there’s snow like on this April morning, he orders an iced coffee, he said.

When Scott Carter reached the register, Jimmo knew he’d want a cinnamon raisin bagel, not toasted. Carter said he goes to Dunkin’ Donuts only a couple of times a month.

“I think she remembers a lot of people,” Carter said as he left the store.

After a decade serving many residents and local business people their morning coffee at the Dunkin’ Donuts in Simon’s Plaza on U.S. Route 2, Jimmo completed her last day of work on Friday.

“I’m shocked that she’s leaving,” customer Kim Wieck said when she found out “Chris,” as many customers call her, was moving on to a new job. “I don’t know who can follow her. She knows her customers, that’s for sure.”

The line for coffee was unrelenting from 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. last Friday, and country music from WOKO 98.9 hummed out of the radio in the background. While some customers grabbed their goods and headed out without comment, a number of them chatted with Jimmo. As various customers left, Jimmo would tell a reporter that the last customer was a state trooper, or that another was a social worker. She didn’t know the names of all of the regulars, but she seemed to know about their lives. She said some of them know about hers, too.

Jimmo was born in Middlebury and raised in Burlington. She’s been married 35 years and has nine children and more than 30 grandchildren. She shy about her age of 65.

“I don’t hide my age from anybody,” she said. “You can hide it all you want, but it don’t change it.”

In her free time, she likes shopping, bingo, taking care of a two-year-old grandson, and attending tractor pulls with her husband. Boston Kreme doughnuts are her favorite; jelly is a close second. She’s not a fan of flavored coffee.

Jimmo was the first employee at the Williston Dunkin’ Donuts when it opened in March 1997, and Jimmo said she’s been manager there for eight years.

As manager, she had to work shifts if an employee didn’t show. Sometimes that meant she’d have as many as five or six weeks without a day off, she said. It was time to move on, so she took a new job with Thomson Prometric, a testing and assessment business in Blair Park.

“I probably would have moved on a long time ago, but I had a lot of really, really nice customers,” Jimmo said.

Customer Jon Ebel, who said he has come for coffee “every morning” since Jimmo started working there, asked Jimmo upon reaching the register Friday morning if she’d already given her employers notice of her impending departure.

“I’m going to miss my customers,” Jimmo told him.

“They’re going to miss you,” he responded.