The Man Behind the Iconic Sign on 4th and Appleway

Glenn Robinson and his wife Dana.
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COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho – Glenn Robinson isn’t afraid to exercise freedom of speech in a very public way. No, he isn’t a social media influencer. Robinson prefers to use an old-fashioned reader board, which just so happens to be located on a busy intersection in Coeur d’Alene and has received national attention more than once. 

Some of Glenn Robinson’s reader board messages.
Some of Glenn Robinson’s reader board messages.

When a television personality from Entertainment Tonight was visiting Coeur d’Alene, she snapped a picture of Robinson’s sign and put it up on Twitter (now known as X) where it reached over a million people. “FORECAST FOR TOMORROW GOD REIGNS & THE SON SHINES” was shared on In Focus with Alison Steinberg, a nationally syndicated news program. Another message, “RISING GAS PRICES RISING INFLATION LETS GO BRANDON,” was featured on both The Bennie Show podcast and One News America (OAN).

“I have no gray area – I’m not afraid to hurt people’s feelings with the truth,” asserted Robinson with a smile. “I never have been.”

Some of Glenn Robinson’s reader board messages.

When he posted “TO CONQUER A NATION FIRST DISARM ITS CITIZENS” in March of last year, it invoked a firestorm from people upset that Adolf Hilter’s name was attached to the quote. “I was just saying ‘I like to keep my gun rights,” said Robinson. “I wanted people to wake up.” He explained that within a half-hour of the quote going up, the shop was receiving harassing calls from individuals with progressive, left-leaning political views. “I’m not taking it down,” he replied when told about the aggressive and bullying calls. A local newspaper even did a hit piece after Robinson declined to be interviewed. “The funny thing about that, people were so pissed off about it [the hit piece] that they supported us and we had a great week.”

Robinson shrugs off the controversy, “I didn’t do anything wrong. I just told the truth.” To reiterate his point, the next sign read, “IF YOU WANT THE PRESENT TO BE DIFFERENT FROM THE PAST STUDY THE PAST.” 

Glenn and his wife Dana first operated the shop as Davis Donuts, before remodeling and rebranding into the popular Breaking Bread Artisan Bistro which opened its doors in September 2022. The Bistro is run by his daughter Heather and features Dana’s made-from-scratch breads, pastries, pies, soups, and sandwiches. The scheduled six-week closure to remodel was extended when a drunk driver plowed through the side of the building during the renovations. “Of course I had already remodeled that corner, so I had to start over on some stuff,” shared Robinson.

Damage done when a drunk driver plowed into the shop during the remodel in the summer of 2022.

“The sign, I kind of have fun with it,” shared Robinson who doesn’t care if it irritates people. “I like to put stuff up there that makes people think. I would put more controversial stuff up, but it’s the girls in the shop that have to answer the phone.”

Some of Glenn Robinson’s reader board messages.

A recent one read, “TRUTH DOES NOT REQUIRE YOUR PARTICIPATION IN ORDER TO EXIST LIES DO” which is a quote attributed to Terence McKenna. This viewpoint has been widely embraced by many Americans who are fed-up with agendas pushed by corporate media, government entities, and political parties.

When the area was impacted by the tragic murder of Coeur d’Alene Sgt. Greg Moore, Robinson put up a message saying all sales for the day would benefit the Moore family and the community responded by placing so many orders they fried donuts all day. “The first person who came in ordered 20 dozen.”

During the BLM/Antifa protests, he went downtown and was so impressed with the community presence and support that he put up a message thanking the patriots for protecting all the businesses. Someone snapped a photo of the sign and it quickly spread over social media. By the end of the day, they had sold out of every item and had to close early.

Robinson is a first-generation American citizen. He was born in Montreal, Canada, and both his parents served in the Canadian military. When he was two-years-old, his father was stationed at McChord Air Force base outside Tacoma, Washington, where they remained for two years before returning to Canada. A few years later, his dad got another tour to the United States. According to Robinson, both his parents saw the growing socialism in Canada and wanted to get away from it, so his dad opted to get out of the Canadian military and his parents went through the immigration process.

In 1986, Robinson took steps to become an American citizen. “I wanted to vote. It was really the only thing I couldn’t do.” He said the citizenry test was oral and not very hard. In fact, one of the questions was “Who is Babe Ruth?” To which he replied, “You mean the King of Swing, the Soul of Swat?”

He shared what he called an “embarrassing moment” when he made the mistake of thinking the swearing-in ceremony for citizenship was optional. “I was going to school in the morning and working in the evening, so I showed up in shorts, flip-flops, and a shirt with Springstein lyrics,” recalled Robinson. “But it was the state’s birthday and they made a big to-do over it. I showed up looking like a bum and everyone was in suits.” He said his mom nearly “had a heart attack” when she found out. A copy of the US Constitution which was given to him when he became a citizen is proudly displayed on a wall in Breaking Bread Artisan Bistro.

Robinson is a journeyman refrigeration technician who has worked in the trade for 37 years. He builds, remodels, and services equipment used by grocery stores in Idaho, Montana, and Washington. “I have a book full of licenses, including gas, deli scales, and commercial refrigeration,” stated Robinson when discussing regulations on the trade from multiple jurisdictions. “We do work for Pilgrims, Super One, Costco, Alberstons, Safeway, all of them.” According to Robinson, regulations on the industry requires continuing education, along with testing, which adds hours of work to an already busy schedule.

“I would have retired years ago, but there’s no one to replace me,” stated Robinson. He says he’s trained a lot of young guys who quit because it’s a demanding industry and they lack the work ethic. “I get calls at two in the morning that the oven isn’t working and I have to show up. It’s tough, but you can make a good living.” There have been national conversations about the trades industries – refrigeration, electricians, plumbers, HVAC – running out of time to replace the men who keep everything running. “It’s a good industry,” stated Robinson who mentioned the job is in such high demand he’s never been laid-off in 37 years. “There has never been a day without work.” When it comes to equipment in bakeries, delis, or coffee shops, there isn’t anything he hasn’t worked on. He just completed two large ovens in Missoula, Montana. “Who’s going to do this when guys like me are gone?”

Ovens recently completed by Glenn Robinson in Missoula, Montana.
Ovens recently completed by Glenn Robinson in Missoula, Montana.
Ovens recently completed by Glenn Robinson in Missoula, Montana.

Robinson said he lives his life by core principles that are so consistently applied his kids know exactly what the answer will be before even asking. “I try to have no gray area. I try to be cut and dry and I try to be consistent,” Robinson stated. “I try to train the young guys, ‘Fix it like it’s your house, don’t cut corners. You want them to call you back.’” His principled living is the genesis of messages like “YOU CAN FAKE A LOT OF THINGS IN LIFE WORK ETHIC IS NOT ONE” and “EVIL PREACHES TOLERANCE UNTIL IT IS DOMINANT THEN IT TRIES TO SILENCE GOOD.”

Robinson has no plans to upgrade the old-fashioned reader board on 4th and Appleway, believing it would lose its impact and iconic status if it was to become digital.

Some of Glenn Robinson’s reader board messages.