Category Archives: Janesville Messenger

DJ in JM: Are there enough coffee shops in Janesville?

Discover Janesville is not just a radio podcast, it is also a column in the Janesville Messenger.  Here is the first column, which appeared in the October 28th edition of the Messenger.

“Welcome to Discover Janesville, a new addition to the Janesville Messenger. As the author, I get to pick what the subject of each column, but more than likely, it will be about Janesville and Rock County. Some of you may be familiar with the name “Discover Janesville” because when I first got on the Council, in 2008, I looked around and was amazed because for all the bad news about the economy, I kept meeting so many people, who were playing a leadership role in our community, people who were determined to make Janesville a better place. I wanted to shine the spotlight on these people, and for 3 years, I hosted a program, which you can still view on the internet, interviewing people making a positive difference in our community. A few weeks back, I brought Discover Janesville back, but this time, as a newspaper column, and as a regular online radio talk-show.

Life, these days in Janesville is a mixed bag of slowly improving economy, political polarization (which really just means that people who disagree politically, look at the world through completely different sets of lenses) and a constant stream of community events. From high school sports, to theater productions, from political rallies, to non-profit fundraisers, from neighborhood revitalization efforts to church festivals, the list of ways to stay busy and entertained is nearly endless. What I look forward to covering in this space, and on my radio program, is the variety of experiences that make up living in Janesville. Not to mention our great location, which allows local residents to go and see shows and festivals in Chicago, Madison, Rockford and Milwaukee.

Today, I would like to raise a question is I feel warrants greater discussion in our Janesville: are there enough coffee shops in town?

Janesville is not that different from other places, where much business is done in the coffee shop setting. It is an inexpensive way to get together with a friend or a business contact at a neutral location.  No need to clean up the house or worry about having no office outside of the one in your basement.  Now, there are clearly quite a few bars in town, and I do not intend to ignore the reality that much business is done there as well. However, it is the coffee shop that functions as that virtual office and meeting space, and we could stand to have more of these in Janesville.

Mocha Moment is wonderful and quaint, but it can also be crowded. Starbucks near the IHOP, looks like its doing bulk of its business in the drive-thru lane and the small space inside is frequently packed.
There are finally more than one coffee shop in the downtown with 29 South Main, and Lemonade Coffee practically across the street from each other. Java Joys is still being missed, and GR’s Sandwich Shoppe (the latest venture of Georges Hanna, best known for his”Metropolitan” restaurant) on East Milwaukee, is a welcomed up-and-comer. Still, in a city of 60,000 residents, we could stand to have a few more outlets where people can gather, listen to music and have a warm (or an iced) caffeinated (or not) beverage. If you still don’t believe me, just walk into Mocha Moment when it is taken over by a book club, and you will agree with me. Seems like what we need is either for Mocha Moment to open a second location, or for the rest of us to support all the coffee shops we already have in town.”