It started as a retirement dream that came to fruition well before retirement. In 2000, after befriending the then owner of Java Outpost in Carytown and learning the business of coffee, I opened the original Java Mio at the PXtra shopping center on Fort Lee. Following a warm reception by civilians and soldiers, […]
It started as a retirement dream that came to fruition well before retirement. In 2000, after befriending the then owner of Java Outpost in Carytown and learning the business of coffee, I opened the original Java Mio at the PXtra shopping center on Fort Lee. Following a warm reception by civilians and soldiers, we immediately exceeded sales goals. It wasn’t long before dollar hungry AAFES was suggesting (as our contract was up for renewal) that a second location of Java Mio in the main PX shopping center be ‘considered’. Against my advice, due to substandard positioning in the shopping center, we were compelled to open. Three months later I closed the doors due to negative revenue.
Soon thereafter, Java Outpost sold out and we were left without a custom coffee roaster. So one month after purchasing a beautiful German made coffee roaster, which is currently imprisoned at 322 N. Sycamore Street, Java Mio Roastery was born and started churning out coffee beans on Crater Road .
In 2003 AAFES notified me that it had made an executive decision to kill the golden goose. At the suggestion of overpaid, underworked individuals who possessed not one milliliter of entrepreneurial blood, I was given notice that Java Mio’s contract was not being renewed. AAFES had decided it could surpass our sales with its own AAFES coffee shop. It failed miserably.
It wasn’t long after AAFES’ proclamation that I visited Steve and Ella Dickinson’s Brickhouse Run and realized that Old Towne Petersburg was the place to be. Steve and Ella were pioneers who took a chance that paid off. I selected a location with strong placement in Old Towne and decided to combine the coffee shop and roastery into one.
We added a small kitchen, stage, sound system and bookshelves, and in October 2003 Java Mio Gourmet Coffee Shop and Roastery made its debut. The community was overwhelmingly supportive and after a nine month stretch Java Mio was sold to Dave Cislak. Dave continued Java Mio’s formula for success. With wine tastings, a bakery, and revolving art exhibits, Java Mio thrived.
Sadly, Java Mio is now under new ownership, but the doors are locked and covered with official postings. Allegedly the business failed to pay City taxes and was shut down. It remains to be seen what will become of this hill of beans, but the people of Petersburg have responded with an outpouring of well wishes. They want their coffee shop back, and we are all hoping that a competent captain can turn the ship around and keep her afloat.