The cafe on Route 15 in downtown Johnson finally has a new owner and is expected to open before the end of November.
The cafe will be owned and operated by Two Sons Bakehouse, which already has locations on Mountain Road in Jeffersonville and Hyde Park.
What sets this company apart from its other locations is that it will work with Jenna’s Promise, a local non-profit organization founded by the Tatro family of Tatro Construction in Jeffersonville that provides support services for people with substance use disorders.
Jenna’s Promise mission statement states, in part, that they aim “…to create a support network that will help people with substance use disorders. We want to open doors and remove barriers for people seeking treatment, ensuring a healthy and lasting recovery for patients. As the new cafe opens as a for-profit business, it plans to employ members of the Jenna’s Promise community who are on the road to recovery, giving them a skill set that will help them through life. throughout their life.
Two Sons Bakehouse owner Bill Hoag oversees the final stages of setting up and running the new cafe. “We’re looking forward to helping people get back on their feet and we’re going to start small,” Hoag says. “We are going to hire two or three of the young women who are already in the program and try to grow it from there. And hopefully we can have more than that. We are trying to set it up to be successful. I hope we can build on that. And then it’s the goal to help people get back into the job market and become self-sufficient.
It’s no secret that Johnson’s main street lacked a place to sit down and have a coffee or a light lunch. A local resident, standing on the steps of the soon-to-open cafe, said, “I hope this place opens soon. We need a place like this in town.
Bill Hoag agrees with this notion. “I am a resident of Johnson and the Tatros contacted me and asked if I could help them. And I think it’s a great opportunity. I am truly impressed with all the work they have done with their program and would be honored to be a part of it. And then the second point of all of this is that I’m also a resident of Johnson who wants to see something happen in Johnson that could bring the community together; whether they are locals, students or people from out of town. I think it’s desperately needed.
According to Hoag, the new cafe will likely operate as a standard cafe and canteen. “We’re going to focus our attention on the coffee itself, and that’s going to come from Jenna’s Roasting,” Hoag explains. “We’re also going to be supplying other coffees – espressos, lattes – we’re going to be supplying those as well [Two Sons Bakehouse] bakery products. And then we’ll have simple sandwiches. The idea is that we’re all going to create something there to provide a community that everyone can enjoy. And hopefully at some point these recovering ladies do it all from scratch.
Jenna’s Roasting Co. is a coffee roaster owned and operated by Jenna’s Promise. It not only acts as a source of revenue for the organization, but also fulfills Jenna’s Promise’s mission of providing recovering individuals with training and workforce opportunities.
“I’m pretty sure it’s going to be called Jenna’s Cafe, and underneath it’s going to say it’s operated by Two Sons Bakehouse,” Hoag says. Along with supporting Jenna’s Promise and their mission, it’s clear what the new cafe means to the city. “Providing a place in the community where everyone can come together, enjoy food and hang out,” he says. “Just a place where people can go and meet, you know, that’s what I want to see here. A start to rebuilding Johnson into a thriving community. That’s what I want.”
Jenna’s Promise is named after Johnson State College alumnus Jenna Tatro, and some might say it’s fitting to have a cafe named after her in the heart of the city.
“What the Tatros are doing and what they’re trying to do, supporting people in recovery, I think is really honorable,” Hoag says. “I really have a lot of respect for what they’re trying to do, and anything I can do to help them, I’m going to, that’s why I’m opening this cafe.”