By KATIE SOBKO
KEYPORT — After more than a decade under the ownership of founder Ed Kok, Espresso Joe’s has new management. The mother-daughter duo of Nichole and Cynthia Schumann took over the coffee shop in April and haven’t looked back.
The shop has undergone some changes since the new owners took over, like fantastic new laminate floor, but they kept a lot of the original, like live music every week.
To see what brought the mother-daughter duo to Keyport’s downtown and what they have planned for their shop, the Anchor sat down with them to ask them to tell us all about it.
Why did you decide to own a business in Keyport?
CS: I live in Middletown but I did live in Keyport for 10 years. It always seems to draw us back.
NS: It’s where I grew up. I love this town.
Why Espresso Joe’s?
CS: We basically approached Ed. My daughter was working for Louie at Keyport Pizza and she was always saying that she wanted to own her own business so he said ‘why don’t you buy the coffee shop over there?’ so she kind of approached Ed in the beginning of the summer [of 2014] and he said that he wasn’t ready and that he didn’t know if he wanted to sell but if he did it wouldn’t be until the end of the summer. When he approached her at the end of the summer, I was out of work so I said ‘why don’t we do it together?’ because my daughter probably wouldn’t have been able to get the finances so she would have come to me for that so we just decided to go in partners and that’s really how it started.
What was done in terms of renovations?
CS: We painted the walls. We did the floors, ripped out the old carpet. We are going to paint the door outside and put up LED lights in the windows.
NS: We are eventually going to redo the bathroom.
What type of menu changes have been made?
CS: I added salads and also brought in yogurt. I’m trying to bring on some healthy choices.
NS: We now do the juicing and fresh squeezed lemonade.
With all of the changes being made, what has stayed the same since you took over?
CS: As far as the live music is concerned everything stayed the same. We didn’t change that.
NS: We do live music every Friday and Saturday nights and open mics on Wednesdays. We also offer suspended coffee.
Suspended coffee, what’s that?
CS: It’s something that the old owner started but it sort of died down. A lot of people don’t know about it. We have a fund called suspended coffee. If somebody is unfortunate or if people can’t afford a cup of coffee we have the fund so that they can have a cup of coffee where people pay it forward. We have regular customers that will leave things in the fund sometimes.
NS: They pay it forward. You come in buy a cup of coffee and then leave a couple dollars in the fund.
Keeping anything else?
CS: We also offer baked goods from Sarah Conley. She has a company called Good to be Gluten. She bakes pastries that are gluten free and vegan.
NS: She bakes different things for us. It’s always something different. Everything she makes sells.
CS: We pretty much let her pick. She pays attention to what moves quickly and what people like.
What would you order if you were a customer here?
CS: I have awesome chicken salad. It’s one of our best sellers. I make chicken salad over salad.
NS: That’s a tough question. I would probably get a latte or a iced chai because those are my favorite drinks.
What sets you apart?
NS: The atmosphere. I mean we’re not like a Dunkin’ Donuts or a Starbucks. Those places you go in, you get your coffee, you leave. We are more like a close family. Most of the people that come in here are regulars.
Are there a lot of regular customers?
CS: Most of my steadys, I might not even know their names but I know what they drink. It’s important to me to know the customers and I think it makes them feel special.
Did you just start a business in Keyport? Do you know someone who has? Do you want to tell the Anchor your story and plans? Email editor Matthew McGrath at KeyportAnchor@gmail.com.