For the second year in a row, a coffee shop in Toronto’s east end has attracted a big-name celebrity during the Toronto International Film Festival.
Grinder Coffee near Jones Avenue and Gerrard Street East is not exactly near all of the TIFF excitement in the downtown core, but that hasn’t stopped stars from making the trip to visit.
Last year, the shop started a social media campaign to get Canadian movie star Ryan Gosling to stop by, complete with the hashtag #RyanNeedsGrinder.
Sure enough, he did.
“I was a little star-struck … I didn’t really expect him to come,” Joelle Murray, the owner of the shop, told Global News.
In 2017, Murray made her first attempt to attract a star to her shop, with celebrity Idris Elba as her target. However, Elba never showed up.
This year, Murray started another campaign ahead of TIFF in an attempt to attract Tom Hanks.
For the past week, Grinder Coffee has made a series of Facebook posts and tweets including the hashtag #TomNeedsGrinder in hopes of getting Hanks’ attention.
“(We’re hoping) for him to show up and have coffee with us,” Murray told Global News Wednesday.
“Maybe a sandwich, maybe a little snack, a conversation.”
It may have seemed a little far-fetched, but for the second year in a row, the campaign was a success.
“He found us funny and he freakin’ came!” Grinder Coffee posted on Facebook Friday night.
“We appreciate you giving some #love back to a small independent coffee shop who truly admires yah!”
Tony Graham, who works at the shop, said he was in the middle of closing up for the night when he heard a knock at the door.
He said he saw a man pointing at the cardboard cutout of Tom Hanks that they had in the shop as part their campaign and thought he just wanted to get a selfie with it.
“As I got to about four or five feet (away) I was like, ‘Oh my god, it’s Tom Hanks,'” Graham said.
“When I realized it was Tom, I opened the door, I let him in … He was the nicest guy. He was exactly what I pictured him to be.”
But Murray was not there at the time, so Hanks talked to her over the phone.
“She realized it was Tom and let out a bit of a squeal,” Graham said.
Murray said Hanks told her he was amused by the whole campaign.
“He said he very much enjoyed it and found it very, very funny,” she said.
“I am very pleased to get someone who I truly admire to actually walk in my doors.”
Hanks’ visit has since had a lot of reaction online, including from Toronto Mayor John Tory who said, “Great to see @tomhanks stopped by @GrinderCoffeeTO.”
Murray said she plans to start another campaign to attract a celebrity during TIFF next year, but hasn’t yet decided who it will be.