Bronx businessman’s ‘Fresh Take’ on life

 Bronx entrepreneur Eric Glisson, 38, inside his new business, ‘Fresh Take,’ at the store’s grand opening.

Bronx entrepreneur Eric Glisson, 38, inside his new business, ‘Fresh Take,’ at the store’s grand opening.

He’s gone from the big house to being the Bronx’s latest business owner, and he’s done it in less than a year.

Eric Glisson — who served nearly 18 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit — has opened a juice and smoothie bar in Parkchester, and he turned on the lights one year to the day after his release.

“I just want to inspire people not to give in to life,” the upbeat 38-year-old from Soundview said Friday during the grand opening for his new store, Fresh Take.

“When you find yourself in a situation where there’s no way out, there is always a speck of light at the end of the tunnel.”

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Glisson was convicted in 1997 of killing livery cab driver Baithe Diop, who was murdered two years earlier. He spent 17 years and nine months inside, shuttling from prison to prison upstate.

“I lived a nightmare every waking hour,” Glisson recalled. “The only relief was sleep.”

During that time, two gangbangers confessed to the killing in an unrelated federal probe.

Glisson has since filed suit against the city for the wrongful conviction.

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The father of one, who dropped out of school in the sixth grade and sold used cars before his arrest, used his time behind bars to earn his equivalency degree, take college classes and learn carpentry, electrical and plumbing skills.

He used that knowledge to rehab the storefront, and he did almost all of the work himself.

Bronx entrepreneur Eric Glisson, 38, Who was wrongfully convicted of murder in 1995, has just opened the Fresh Take juice bar in Parkchester section of the Bronx.

Jennifer H. Cunningham/New York Daily News

Bronx entrepreneur Eric Glisson, 38, Who was wrongfully convicted of murder in 1995, has just opened the Fresh Take juice bar in Parkchester section of the Bronx.

The entrepreneur now employs a staff of four and has received his Bachelors degree in psychology. He also won a full scholarship to attend law school.

He got the idea for Fresh Take after he noticed there were tons of fast-food joints — but not many places selling healthy food — in the Bronx.

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He tried to lease the Westchester Ave. storefront, but couldn’t get a lease because he didn’t have a credit history.

That’s when his friend and mentor, Jeffrey Deskovic, stepped in and co-signed for him.

Deskovic says that Glisson is doing “extraordinarily well,” and he knows what he’s talking about.

The 40-year-old from Westchester County spent 16 years locked up after he was convicted on murder and rape charges — in a crime he didn’t commit. After his exoneration, Deskovic won a $ 6.5 million payout and, wanting to help others in the same plight, used some of the money to start a foundation.

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Deskovic, whose nonprofit fights wrongful convictions and helps exonerated convicts transition into productive lives after prison, called Glisson’s rapid transition remarkable — given the societal stigma and high rates of recidivism the recently released face.

“This is not typical in the time it takes people to put things back together,” he said.

Glisson said he knew the odds were long, but he never gave up hope that he’d be released.

“I knew for sure that I would be released some day,” Glisson said. “I never accepted my conviction. I knew that I was innocent, and I knew the truth would come out.”

Fresh Take, 2245 Westchester Ave. in Parkchester.

jcunningham@nydailynews.com


Lifestyle – NY Daily News

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