In the course of a week, Java Jive owner Katy Welch took part in a whirlwind of change and a fresh look for her business.

In the course of a week, Java Jive owner Katy Welch took part in a whirlwind of change and a fresh look for her business.

After closing the doors at noon Sunday, Feb. 21, the transformation began. Welch’s husband, Casey Welch, served as the project manager, drawing the layout that shortened the old counter and called for a new kitchen area in the rear for baked goods, sandwiches and sides. On Monday, Feb. 29, the baked goods cases sat prominently at the front of the store, connected to a shortened counter area for beverages and ice cream products. Couches and additional seating filled the former Fresh Ayers shop next door, and a game area beckoned children of all ages.

Welch operated Java Jive for years, but she became the owner this January. Her parents, Steve Ayers and Linn Ayers, restored the building in 2000 and opened up shop, establishing an enduring fixture for downtown Hannibal. Now, it’s Welch’s time to take the helm.

“This was their baby that they handed over,” she said.

Welch described the weeklong renovation efforts as “a miracle.” She said her husband assembled a dedicated team of local contractors, and each step’s timing went smoothly.

“I could not have done it without him,” she said.

A painstaking process

Casey Welch put his drafting degree from last spring to good use, his wife said. He received tools, supplies and assistance from his employer — American Glass — and he worked with a team including Ryan Tarvydas from Flooring Designs Unlimited, Allen Miller from Tri-State Carpet, Eric Wilson from Wilson Electrical Service, John Hampton of J and D Construction, and Nick MacArthur of MacArthur Construction.

Katy Welch said Nick’s father, Jerry MacArthur, worked on her parents’ previous restoration projects and was a longtime family friend. MacArthur passed away before the renovation began, and his son planned to run the business.

Welch’s staff of about 12 employees worked late hours throughout the renovation, developing a “team-building” atmosphere along the way. Her baker, Brittany McNeal, picked out the paint colors. The pair visited Home Depot, Lowe’s and Sherwin-Williams to create a new interior appearance.

“She just has a really cool sense of style,” Welch said.

Welch commended members from all the crews,working together to fit a month’s worth of work into one week. When Tarvydas finished installing tiles at 11 p.m. on Thursday, Welch sent a text message to Miller, who began the finishing work at 11 a.m. on Friday. The tightly-controlled schedule allowed employees to begin moving equipment back in that evening.

“It was a wild week,” she said.

Inspiration takes hold

Welch visited Pinterest online to gather inspiration for Java Jive’s fresh look — evocative of coffee shops from the 1950s. She viewed numerous coffee shops designs, flooring options and other images on the popular site. She fondly remembered photographs from an Italian coffee shop featuring gleaming ceramic tile floors. Java Jive’s new tile floor, chrome-ringed tables and pastel hues adorning the walls echoed those coffee shops from a bygone era.

Welch’s parents closed Fresh Ayers next door and moved artwork to Ayers Pottery, allowing for additional couches and a game area for children. Eventually, Welch plans to install a partition wall and double doors at the rear portion of the room, allowing a private space for gatherings like showers.

A bright future

The shop bustled again on Monday, as many regular customers returned to check out the new look. Food was served on Tuesday, as employees worked in the new kitchen area.

Welch and her staff members look to warm weather and the coming festivals with enthusiasm. In the summer, Welch said she plans to expand the menu to include panini sandwiches and other side dishes, as the newly arranged preparation areas will allow for more efficient work and faster customer service.

But some things won’t ever change at the busy coffee shop.

Welch said Java Jive always offered a relaxing atmosphere with tasty baked goods, coffees and other “pick-me-ups” for visitors.

“I feel like we’re in the business of pleasing people,” she said.

 

Reach reporter Trevor McDonald at trevor.mcdonald@courierpost.com.