New Java Jar owner volunteered as dishwasher a month ago

Jamie Schaneman, the new owner of The Java Jar, with coffee mugs of regulars behind her.

TORRINGTON — Once Jamie Schaneman decided to purchase The Java Jar, she decided to join the staff. 

As a dishwasher. Voluntarily.

“I’ve always been a big believer in knowing every aspect of your job,” Schaneman said. “I wanted to learn.”

Schaneman credits her 24-year predecessors in ownership of the coffee shop - Patty Harmon, Kris Brooks and Julie Haught - for instruction on both the business side and cooking side.

In fact, Schaneman said she got valuable feedback on a “multitude of things.” 

“They have been very helpful and continue to be until I say I don’t need them anymore,” Schaneman said.

Haught is perhaps going to help Schaneman Friday and Harmon told Schaneman to give her a call for the same purpose.

Harmon noted: “The training wheels are coming off.”

Schaneman was given seven sets of flowers from friends and family.

A new sheriff in town

Though Schaneman is now in charge, she promised “The Java Jar girls” she would keep their legacy alive and keep the business thriving. She said that, while she wants to put her own “spin” on the shop — she will be making a few changes to the menu, for example — none of the overall changes to the business will be drastic.

“I wouldn’t do anything different,” Schaneman said. “I love those girls and I want to make sure that I do everything that – while it’s my own, I want to keep The Java Jar atmosphere alive.”

One woman comes in twice per day and five or six groups meet at the shop, besides a knitting club, Schaneman said. Coffee mugs are even held in reserve on a rack for regulars who are part of one of the groups.

Schaneman was a banker for 34 years. Most recently, the Tulsa, Okla. native was a marketing president for U.S. Bank in Scottsbluff, with her district running from Gary, Neb., to Evanston. She has overseen 80 employees.

Schaneman, who has lived in Torrington for 33 years, said she always wanted to own her own business.

“I haven’t worked for the last eight months, so this opportunity came up and I jumped on it,” Schaneman said. “It is a great business; very busy.”

Schaneman has been a customer of The Java Jar “since day one.

“Just small business and being on Main Street in Torrington, Wyo., was really appealing to me,” Schaneman said. “My husband has owned a business in town for the last 35 years. It just stands to reason that this would be a good idea for us.”

The social aspect of the job also appealed to Schaneman. 

“Customers and customer service is something that is really important to me,” Schaneman said.

It’s those skills in the field of customer service, along with abilities in team leading and management, that will serve Schaneman well in her new role, she said. She is naturally a people person and cares about her community.

“It’s important that people are happy when they come here and when they leave,” Schaneman said. “It’s all about people. It truly is. It truly is all about people. And I believe that 100 percent.”

In the month that Schaneman has volunteered, Schaneman has learned many things, including using the ordering system, making food orders and bookkeeping. In short, what Harmon, Brooks and Haught have looked to build over 24 years, Schaneman said.

At The Java Jar, Schaneman has reconnected with a woman she met when she was a bank teller 30 years ago.

“I know a lot of people in town and if I don’t know them, my husband does,” Schaneman said. 

Schaneman is most looking forward to learning all of the jobs the shop requires and being as successful as Harmon, Brooks and Haught, Schaneman said. 

Schaneman said Haught told her something that stuck: “What we sell, you can’t buy on the Internet.

“Again, it’s all about the customers and customer service and the community,” Schaneman said.

“As far as competition, it’s gonna come,” Schaneman added. “But it won’t change us; we’ll just keep doing what we are doing.”

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