This content is sponsored by Santander

Sponsored by Santander

This content was produced by Boston Globe Media's Studio/B in collaboration with the advertiser. The news and editorial departments of The Boston Globe had no role in its production or display.

Crosby’s Coffeehouse, a space where women can “root for one another”

Owner Meg Peters created a welcoming coffeehouse where a supportive community can grow.

In 2008, Meg Peters had a late-term miscarriage that would change the trajectory of her life. At the time, Peters was working as a fundraiser at non-profits like Perkins School for the Blind and the American Lung Association. She felt content with her life — she loved her husband, her kids — and she thought she liked her work. But in the aftermath of her loss and the therapy sessions that followed, she started to really re-evaluate what was most important to her. What she wanted, it turned out, was to take a chance and start her own business. “It became really clear that I was in charge of my own joy and my own happiness,” Peters says. “I wanted to create that for myself, and to create that for everybody else.”

Meg Peters at the register, wearing a shirt with the Crosby's logo on it.Owner Meg Peters behind the register at Crosby’s Coffeehouse.

She deliberated about what the business would be. But she knew that above all, she wanted to create a space that could serve as a community. Peters grew up in a small town in Maine. She remembered the local community center there as the heart of the town, where you could go to meetings and say hi to friends and neighbors. She wanted to recreate what she loved in her childhood as an adult. Finally, she settled on the right idea. When she worked in fundraising, she’d ask people all the time: “Want to meet for coffee?”

It was a simple, straightforward phrase that really meant: Can we connect? “Coffee is a really easy way to unite people,” Peters says. “It’s a safe way to engage in conversation — it’s not intimidating or scary or too much of a commitment,” and it worked for networking conversations, first dates, or new friendships. Of course — she’d have to open a coffee shop.


In May 2020, in the middle of the pandemic, she opened the doors to Crosby’s Coffeehouse, serving locally roasted specialty-grade coffee, gluten-free treats, and good vibes. “By the time we were ready to open, it felt like everyone was so desperate for human connection,” Peters says. It was spring, and people felt safe meeting face-to-face outside. In a way, it was perfect timing.

Peters recruited a small, tight-knit team of baristas, who made it a point to learn customers’ names and favorite orders. “We sometimes joke here that if a regular doesn’t show up for a few days, we worry about them,” Peters says. “That, to me, is community. We care about you if you’re having a bad day, and we want to buy you a drink if it’s your birthday.” They made it easy for customers to treat others to a coffee or a bagel. On a pay-it-forward board, Crosby’s customers leave notes for friends and colleagues, love letters and flirtations, and free coffees for firefighters or healthcare workers and notes like “I’m sorry if you lost a dog this year, like please take this free coffee.” The board fills up fast — Peters says there are more people who are eager to buy pay-it-forwards than people who use it. “I’m blown away by the amount of connections I see here every day,” she says.

She found her own community of business owners and mentors that helped her grow the coffee shop, too, through Santander Bank’s Cultivate Small Business program. “It was like a mini-MBA that I didn’t have to pay for,” Peters says. The 14-week class taught her about hiring and HR, payroll, and accounting, and how to analyze, sustain, and grow her business. “What I learned most importantly is that it really does take a village. It was so important to find this community of other small food entrepreneurs like myself, who I could lean on and ask questions. I also felt super grateful to be connected to such great resources within Santander, and I made a lot of big decisions after that class that have put me in a much better position,” Peters says.

“When I started the coffee shop, I envisioned it being a community space. I’m blown away by the amount of connections I see here every day.”

Peters is paying it forward, too, becoming a mentor for other women in business. When she posted that she lost her son through the miscarriage and that she’d named Crosby’s after him, she started hearing from other women who lost babies or struggled with infertility. “A lot of them also had to re-evaluate happiness the way I did,” she says. “I’ve gotten to see so many of them also start businesses because of that trauma or grief that they’ve been processing the same way.”

Today, within the four walls of Crosby’s, strangers connect and bond over little moments, freshly brewed coffee, and post-it notes. Peters donates a portion of her coffee sales to a different charity each month, often suggested or picked by the community. “Relationships are just naturally forming here, and that’s part of what it means to have a community coffeehouse,” she says.

The quote on Crosby’s mural, designed by a barista, captures the spirit of the space.

As for Peters, sometimes, she feels like she’s still figuring it out. “Every day, I’m learning,” she says, “paving my own path. Treading my own course.” On the door to Crosby is a “woman-owned business” sticker Peters got from Yelp. “I don’t know that I was prepared for the feelings that come with being a woman-owned business, but it’s pretty empowering.” When she hears from other women who are considering starting their businesses, she wants to say: “If you are thinking about doing it, you should try. You’ll regret not trying, more than you’ll regret trying and failing.”

A year after Crosby’s opening, Peters and Abby Callery, one of the baristas at Crosby’s, added a mural to a wall of the coffee shop. For a year, Peters had been wondering about what to put on the empty wall. “It felt like a tattoo. It was going to be here forever and I didn’t know what to pick,” she says. One day, she was talking through ideas with Abby when Abby told her what the coffee shop meant to her: “A safe place for women to come and work, make mistakes and fail and mess up,” a place where women really supported one another. “And [Abby] came up with this quote, ‘Let’s root for each other and watch each other grow,’ because she felt like this is what Crosby’s does for our community. This is who we are. It felt like the right fit,” Peters says. Callery designed the lettering. She painted blooming flowers all around.

Readers should consult their own attorneys or other tax or financial advisors regarding any strategies mentioned in this article. These materials are for promotional purposes only and do not necessarily reflect the views or endorsement of Santander Bank.
Equal Housing Lender. Santander Bank, N.A. is a Member FDIC and a wholly owned subsidiary of Banco Santander, S.A. ©2021 Santander Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Santander, Santander Bank, and the Flame Logo are trademarks of Banco Santander, S.A. or its subsidiaries in the United States or other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

This content was produced by Boston Globe Media's Studio/B in collaboration with the advertiser. The news and editorial departments of The Boston Globe had no role in its production or display.