Home Feature Java Love: How A Woman-Owned Business Has Become A Community Staple

Java Love: How A Woman-Owned Business Has Become A Community Staple

by Roxanne Gribbin

“Meet me at Java Love!” is a common phrase at the campus of Montclair State University. The popular spot brings back regulars and entices new customers daily.

Java Love Coffee creates an un-replicable atmosphere that keeps customers coming back. Two of the three Java love locations exist in Montclair within a short distance from the college.

Jodie Dawson and Kristine Petrik are the masterminds behind the blooming business. Starting in the Catskill Mountains of New York, Java Love began as a romantic notion they hoped would connect the community. 10 years ago, local coffee shops were not as affluent in communities.

Dawson and Petrik quickly jumped on the chance to fill the hole in their community that was lacking.

“We couldn’t get coffee, so we created it where we were,” Petrik said. “We said ‘we don’t roast coffee’ and [our business advisor] said ‘so learn.”

“We definitely have become a space for the community to come together and we are very involved in the community in various ways as far as supporting different non-profits and things like that. I think we did fill a void at that time,” Dawson said.

Soon after opening, Petrik experienced a moment of great success. She realized many of her customers were stocking up to bring their beans back to New York City from their cafe in the Catskills. She realized her roasting ability stood a great chance in the industry.

‘We started noticing that [when] a lot of people were heading back after their summer, they were taking four and five bags of coffee. They said ‘We live in Brooklyn but your coffee is so much better,” Petrik said. “We were doing something right.”

This past fall, Montclair State announced they would be serving Java Love coffee on campus, on the first floor of the student center. Montclair State students were given a huge plethora of food options to vote on. Java Love ranked high on that list and high in the hearts of Montclair State students.

In the coffee industry, there are many steps from the farming of the bean to the cup on your table. Java Love works closely with the Cafe Femenino Foundation to ensure well-being in every link of the business.

The non-profit helps women and families in coffee-growing communities all over the world. Dawson and Petrik feel passionate about this non-profit because supporting women is a major part of their brand and their values.

“If we support women in all parts of the coffee chain, we feel like we are having an even greater impact,” Dawson said. “I think the reason we like it so much is that the work that they’re doing is changing the socioeconomic structure of their communities. So instead of it being this man-focused [industry], they’ve shifted that so the women are getting [paid more]. The women are [becoming] more revered in their communities.”

Dawson and Petrik have been navigating the world of business as women and they have experienced all the trials and tribulations that come with it.

According to The Muse, “Women are twice as likely to be mistaken for much more junior employees and more likely to deal with discrimination. [In addition], for every 100 men promoted to manager-level roles, only 79 women moved up into similar roles.”

“I think when women company executives or business owners…when we put our foot down, people tend to [describe us as] the b-word,” Petrik said. “And if you flipped it and it was a man doing the same thing, he would be a good businessman. We have to really watch ourselves and not get caught up in that [stigma]. We are good business people. [Just] Because we are women doesn’t mean we don’t understand business as well.”

Dawson encourages young women to keep fighting for the positions they deserve to have. She believes that with hard work you can get yourself to where you want to be.

“I think if you’re not nervous or scared then you might not be on the right path,” Dawson said. “I think there’s a lot of room for entrepreneurship in our society and its important women have a place and are seen as leaders in their communities.”

Petrik finds the best way to get your foot in the door of business is to reach out to people you are curious about. She understands it is great to learn about other people’s journeys and how they got to their position.

“If there’s something you want to do that you’re interested in, find someone who, find a woman, [and reach out to them],” Petrik said. If you ask someone for help and they don’t want to help you, then you don’t want to work with them anyway.”

Throughout the last 10 years, Java Love has made an amazing name for itself within the community. It has prevailed through the pandemic and captivated the hearts of many coffee lovers. And at the core of the business are the two strong-willed businesswomen, Petrik and Dawson.

“My proudest moment was when my dad [who is] eighty-something, and [who] couldn’t care less about the taste of [coffee], and he made a comment [while drinking coffee that wasn’t ours],” Petrik said. “‘This isn’t Krissie’s coffee,’ he said. That to me was a huge victory.”

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