Place your order at the Atlanta Bread Company at Perimeter Pointe and you might be met with a joke at the counter by Hessel Sturisky.
“My go to joke is ‘Is that your final answer?’” Sturisky said. He also imitates Howie Mandel in “Deal or No Deal” telling customers, “Now, it’s a deal!”
In his South African-accent, he sincerely says “Everybody has a problem. A smile and a joke cost me nothing.”
Lovable Sturisky, who turns 85 later this month addresses women as ‘darling’ and ‘young lady’ and all the male customers as ‘young man.’
“It makes them feel special. Makes them smile,” he said.
Sturisky said he came to the United States in 1994 leaving behind a successful art, print and framing wholesale business in Johannesburg, South Africa, where he managed 50 employees. Today, Sturisky says, “Darling, family is more important.”
Family is what brought him to Georgia. Three of his sons attended Georgia Tech and all four lived in Atlanta. It’s where he and Julie, his wife of 46 years, felt they needed to be.
“I couldn’t stand the thought of being a granddad so far away. So, my wife and I just packed up and left,” he said.
Now, he and Julie are often babysitters for their 13 grandchildren. All live within three miles of their home in the Sandy Springs/Dunwoody area.
Having worked for Atlanta Bread Company for 14 years, Sturisky has been at the Perimeter Pointe/Dunwoody location for three years. He remembers every face that comes in the door.
“I like talking to people,” he said while waving to a customer. “You haven’t been here in a while, welcome home!”
On a roll, he waved to another person sitting at his laptop. Sandy Springs Resident and Atlanta Bread Company regular, Tom Garner smiled and returned the greeting.
“Hessel is absolutely great. This is an easy virtual office for me and Hessel makes it a lot nicer to be here,” Garner said.
Just mentioning Sturisky made Anahi Garcia, who works alongside him at Atlanta Bread Company, crack a smile.
“He likes talking to customers and tries to make their day, always making people laugh. He makes it more fun to work here,” Garcia said.
Looking for a cup of coffee with a smile and heart? Hessel Sturisky is behind the counter at Atlanta Bread Company Monday through Fridays from 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.