It may be hard to believe, but Java River has only been open for 20 years!

It may be hard to believe, but Java River has only been open for 20 years! This past Saturday, the little coffee shop with lots of character held a 20th Anniversary bash to celebrate the occasion.

A large number of people turned out for an evening of fun, conversation, and music. Earlier in the afternoon there was  a reunion of current and former Java River employees.

Some of the local and area musicians who performed were Malena Handeen, Audrey Arner, Carol Ford, Lee Kanten, Butch Halterman, Brandon Sturmer, Ron Hanson, Mike Milbrandt, and Kim Johnson.

Local singer/songwriter Jerry Ostensoe made a very special appearance to recite the lyrics of a song which he recently wrote, which garnered a loud and  long round of applause.

Over the past 20 years, Java River has become an iconic part of the fabric of the downtown Montevideo community. Patrick Moore and his wife Mary bought the historic building from Shirley Davis in 1997. Those over a certain age will remember the building as housing Sarge’s Cafe.

Patrick and Mary spent six months remodeling the building to transform it into a coffee shop. They called their new business Java River, and it officially opened its doors in August of 1998.

Entering into a new venture was not without its challenges. “At first we had no employees other than ourselves, and we quickly learned that we needed help,” laughed Patrick.

Word began to spread about the delightful little coffee shop in downtown Montevideo, and soon customers from near and far came to visit Java River. Moore said: “During its heyday in 2002, we had more than 25 employees, and we were open seven days a week.”

For more on this story and others pick up this week’s paper or subscribe today!