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Nathan Nelms came on board in 2017 after Jake Sapp, coordinator of program operations for ESP, contacted his parents about Nelms working with Java Joy.
“We did like a practice,” Nelms said. “We would like, fill the coffee filter thing an then we’ll have to pour the coffee powder stuff and then we’ll have to shake it a little bit and put it in the thing, and we’ll have to turn the coffee thing on and wait ‘til it says ‘ready to go.’”
Going on two years later, Nelms and McCutcheon are experts at running the coffee maker and the coffee cart.
joyristas bring their coffee cart or coffee trailer to the business and serve complimentary cups of Jittery Joe’s, and plenty of complimentary hugs. Though many Athens-area businesses have hired Java Joy since 2016, the word is spreading.
“The coolest place is the downtown in Atlanta,” McCutcheon said of a recent event at Colony Square in Midtown. “We helped to do 500 muffins.”
Joyristas made about $100 each in tips that day, and celebrated a job well-done with lunch at Cracker Barrel.
“It’s better than [previous jobs] because you get to go out in the community and serve coffee and hang out with your friends,” Nelms said.
Graben said most of the time, the cart is wheeled into a business’ lobby, lounge or meeting room, but for this event, the trailer was on the street food truck style. She said this will be the first of several bookings at this locale as part of Java Joy’s new subscription program: companies that book at least four times in one year can receive a discounted rate.
“We’re really great at grand openings or holidays, parties where businesses are celebrating certain big events,” Graben said. “At the same time, we’re plugged into businesses on a weekly, monthly basis that just want us there simply for their staff.”
In the Classic City, Java Joy launched a new partnership with the YMCA on weekends inviting businesses to sponsor coffee, and joyristas now have the chance to work directly at the Jittery Joe’s roastery on Monday a month.
“YMCA is like, we do events with basketball games. People play games, and we serve coffee for them,” McCutcheon said.
Her work with Java Joy inspired McCutcheon to create her own business — Meg’s Mess. She said the name in part comes from the mess she tends to leave in the kitchen, like red velvet on her mom’s mixer after making a cake.
As for Nelms, he gets the most out of being hands-on.
“Nathan really enjoys the kind of behind-the-scenes aspect of it,” Graben said. “You don’t tell him what needs to be loaded, he just grabs the cambros and takes them to the van.”
The other barrier Java Joy’s staff hopes to lessen is interacting with adults of different abilities.
“That’s an amazing thing to witness. Some people have hesitancies with interacting with people with disabilities, and they don’t know how to get past it,” Graben said. “You see someone taken aback at first … by the end of it they leave with the biggest smile on their face. That’s what’s so special about our brand. We meet you where you are and you end up having this experience you didn’t’ expect, and a lot of people’s lives are changed because of it.”