Friday, August 22, 2008

How did JAVA & Co. come about?

How did JAVA & Co. come about?

Who are you?

What is your background?

We've been asked this by many. So, here's the background, the short version on our recent history.

It all began in the fall of 2003...

It is not easy to leave what you know, what is constant, and by society’s terms – what is successful - in order to pursue a dream, and for my husband and I and our two beautiful boxers - a balanced, quality way of life, and then navigating such change during these uncertain economic times.

We did just that. My husband, Brian and I walked away from successful restaurant and hospitality careers in NYC and Las Vegas and moved to a small town of 2,600 people in Illinois to start fresh. We purchased our home online, sight unseen, in a town and state we had never been to, nor did we have any family or friends there, sold our house in Las Vegas, packed up our belongings and moved across country towards a new adventure (in that order). Our family, while excited for us, quite honestly - thought we had lost our minds. And yet, I believe my co-workers understood and were envious of our impulsive and dare I say, risky decision.

Since that move in the fall of 2003, we have lived through tornado sirens, hail, high winds, fallen limbs (this wasn’t in the brochure), snow, snow, ice and more ice, Midwest humidity (yes, the Las Vegas dry heat is easier to deal with - at least for me), relentless mosquitoes, nonexistent local (Henry - sorry guys) fine dining (oh what I would do for pan seared sea bass and wild mushroom risotto), missing dear friends, missing our prior income level, missing our swimming pool during the very warm summers, etc., etc., etc. In fact, short story - when we first moved here, my husband went into the local grocery store and asked if they had Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. A simple request? Uh, no. A voice from the back of the store said, “Where do you think you are?” Yikes, we knew we were in for a change!

And a change we got. During the course of the year of 2003/2004, we remodeled the home we bought (we love it), dramatically improved our health, reduced our stress, maximized emails to keep in touch with dear friends and family, put in a bird bath (it’s not a pool, but we enjoy the beautiful cardinals and robins that stop by) and recently, launched a new business.

If we had to go back to 2003, would we change our path? No. The journey has been incredible, sometimes a struggle, but worthwhile. And now, the local store carries Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, usually just two flavors, but it’s a start! Evidently, we haven’t completely blended into Illinois, because we still get, “You’re not from around here, are you?”

There are many definitions of ‘success’ and it is important for each of us to set our sights on what is going to help us balance and complete our lives. After all, we only get one go at it (life that is). How many times do you hear ‘do what makes you happy and you will be successful’? The statement rings true, but how many people are truly willing to believe in themselves, take the necessary steps and be brave enough to change their path in order to achieve a better version of their life? JAVA & Co. allows us to pair our past work, life experiences and passion for food and blend all of this into our new specialty food venture.

Eat well...

Jamie Knoll,
JAVA & Co.