Sep 6, 2022 - Food and Drink

Jpresso, a Hapeville coffee shop and hidden gem

Jpresso
Peep the saddle. Photo: Emma Hurt/Axios

In a nondescript shopping center in Hapeville is Jpresso, a jewel of a coffee shop with a remarkable story.

What's happening: Christine Ahn opened Jpresso in March 2020 — just as the world shut down. But the shop has survived, fulfilling a longtime dream since her family moved to Hapeville from Korea in 1984.

  • Ahn's parents bought a grocery store in that center soon after they moved. As the oldest, Ahn took care of her brother and sister after school. They'd play in the parking lot while their parents worked.
  • She had a vision that "one day I'd have a store of my own where I could read and have a cup of coffee, but at the same time I wanted it to have a homey feel."

Zoom in: And a homey feel it has. Ahn's shop is filled with a broad collection of vintage toys, housewares and other oddities, from a traffic light (still working) to a saddle as a chair. It's all by design, she said.

  • "When you come to my shop, you'll feel very comfortable. It's like you're visiting your mother's or grandma's attic," she said. "It's like a scavenger hunt."

Of note: Though not her original intention, after many requests Ahn will sell items in the collection to people who will give them "a good home."

The big picture: Ahn says her dad "planted the seed in this shopping center" with her parents' store. Her mom continued working there until they sold it a few years ago. Her sister owns a Mexican restaurant next door, too. "So it was easier for me to jump into this environment."

Meanwhile, outside the shop is an oasis. Ahn has turned a small patio into a lush garden that's growing lime, peach, coffee, lemon, avocado and apple trees, grapes, pineapple, squash, watermelon, strawberries and more. Some produce ends up in Jpresso fruit cups.

What she's saying: "My goal is not big, I just want people to notice me a little, what I do here, how much love I put into it, and my staff does, too," she said. "I look forward to coming to this place every day, and that's what I want to create for the customers as well."

Details: Jpresso, at 407 N. Central Ave., is open Monday-Friday 7:30am-3pm; Saturday: 8am-3pm.

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