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Jessie Street Java fills your cup and a calling

By Kirsten Zoellner

Fri, Apr 18th, 2014
Posted in Rushford Features

(L-R) Kila, Amy, Kevin, and Zoe Feller of Jessie Street Java. Photo by Peggi Redalen

Stepping into Jessie Street Java in Rushford, Minn., it’s hard to pinpoint what comes over you first; the tantalizing smells, the enticing rural chic atmosphere, or the comfortable feeling that you’re home. Both eclectic and colorful, with a modern coolness, the business has the town brewing with excitement following nine months of extensive renovations that kept the windows covered and the public guessing.

The café didn’t formally announce their opening, opting instead for a subtle, early morning flickering of the new ‘open sign’ this past Monday, April 14. “We didn’t want a rush. We don’t want to give our customers poor service or quality,” noted owner Amy Feller. Neither must be lacking, as the place was brimming with enthusiastic customers its first week.

The café’s beginnings go back more than 18 months, to a unique calling of the Feller family. “We feel called to have this as a youth outreach,” adds Amy. “We have two teenage daughters and there’s not a niche in town for that demographic to hang out.”

Originally, the plan was for a kiosk located at an established site in town. Embarking on their independent studies of traffic flow, exit/entry, and location, the Fellers discovered all the recommended sites were unsuitable choices. Last year, driving past the building, the family was struck by the idea of the contract for deed sale, a low risk option. With plan in hand, the family purchased the building in July 2013.

A series of setbacks initially proved daunting, but eventually came to represent an even greater opportunity. Just one month after purchasing the building, the tenant of the upstairs apartment notified them of their plans to move out, a move that would drastically cut the income generated by the building. “Looking back, it was totally on God’s timing,” enthuses Amy. “If we hadn’t had the tenant leave, we couldn’t have renovated the apartment space. We would have generated only half the income.” Fully renovating the upstairs, the Fellers designed two, modern apartments, one two-bedroom and one-three bedroom, both of which were quickly leased. “More and more was revealed to us the deeper we got into the project. We were comfortable with it. It seemed like the right thing to do.”

The weather also set the project launch date further and further back. Painting the bland exterior a dramatic brown and blue, in the dark and at 34 degrees as noted by Amy, somehow both the plan and the paint stuck. “We were comfortable with that,” says Kevin Feller. “We needed time. It was on God’s time table.” The time allowed for training of the staff of 12, all whom are decked out in either farm dresses and vintage aprons or black slacks and Jessie Street Java custom tee-shirts. It also provided the time for finishing the dramatic interior transformation.

Now, this rural retreat with city refinement features several intimate and group seating areas, two bar counter areas, and a cozy fireplace, perfect for curling up with a cup and a book. The original wood ceiling has been painted and is highlighted with tin accents. No attention to detail has been missed from the table tops, counters, and booths made from reclaimed wood from Minnesota barns to tables made from electrical spools donated by Norman’s Electric Service, from lighting made from Grandma June’s Ball jars to 150-year old wooden floor transitions that came from Rushford State Bank. Puzzles, games, and gallery art from area artisans add flair and fun, while free WiFi adds convenience.

Specializing in specialty coffee and full tea service, the café also offers real fruit smoothies, gluten-free items, and unique and nostalgic pure-cane sodas and candies. They’ve partnered with area bakeries such as Winona Bread & Bagel Company and Bloedow’s Bakery, voted the best in Minnesota, to supply additional items. The small town price point is a key feature of their mouthwatering Panini sandwiches and soups, which feature as many locally produced ingredients as possible from farms like Hidden Bluff Organic Acres.

“We tried to stay true to Rushford. We wanted it to feel like home.”

Jessie Street Java is located just west of Mill Street in Rushford and is open Monday - Thursday 6 a.m.-5 p.m., Friday 6 a.m.-8 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m.-8 p.m., and Sunday 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Jessie Street Java is looking for musicians and entertainers for open mic night, every Friday and Saturday, as well as for someone to organize events. Art gallery space is available for rent. For more information, visit Jessie Street Java on Facebook or call (507) 459-4914.


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4:25:14, Apr 18th 2014

SignRancher says:
I can't wait to check it out ! My daughter, who lives in Rushford, can't say enough great things about it!