Coffee Shop Changes Hands
Published: January 6th, 2009
By: Melissa Stagnaro

Coffee shop changes hands

NORWICH – The new owners of Cafe, Inc. are eager to make their mark on the Norwich coffee shop they purchased just before Christmas. John Jablonski and Tara Mirabito have big plans for their newly-acquired business, including a revamp of both the decor and the menu.

The couple, who got engaged right before Thanksgiving, hasn’t wasted any time putting their mark on the cafe. Already they have added a few signature beverages to their coffee menu, including the Jablo (JAY-blow) Special. A play on Jablonski’s high school nickname, the drink combines hot cocoa with a shot of espresso for some extra kick.

“That’ll get you,” laughed Mirabito, recalling the first time her fiancé had tried out the highly caffeinated beverage. Jablonski is working on creating a Taratini smoothie in her honor, to compliment the existing menu offerings.

Next on the agenda will be adding a splash of color to the cafe’s neutral walls.

“I think it will liven it up,” said Mirabito. But don’t bother asking what colors she has in mind, her lips are sealed.

She plans to complement the new wall colors with original artwork including paintings by both her sister and grandmother. There is talk of a colorful mural as well.

The couple envision the cafe as a place where an ecclectic mix of people will gather not just for coffee, but to socialize as well.

“We want to be a part of the community,” said Jablonski. He and his fiancee plan to add a Sony Play Station and invite local musicians to jam in order to encourage that sense of community.

The couple is rapidly adjusting to their new role as small business owners, but they admit there has been a lot to learn. While they had talked about going into business together, their discussions had not included the possibility of owning a coffee shop. But when the opportunity presented itself, they jumped at the chance.

After having lunch at the cafe one day, Mirabito had been approached by Al Collins, who opened the shop less than six months ago. Collins was looking to sell the small business and offered it to the newly engaged couple as an early wedding present, she explained.

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