Robert Cox has been to a lot of places and seen a lot of cool things – and he and Jeramie Dodd want to share them with Kokomo.
Cox and Dodd are opening a new coffee shop in downtown Kokomo called MO Joe Coffee Co., located at 106 N. Main St. They hope for a grand opening during the first Friday in May, and a soft opening sometime before that.
The interior of the new spot is striking, with vintage-, rustic- and steam punk-inspired décor on the walls, much of it coming from Cox’s house where he’s made a lot of the metallic decorations on his own.
While working overseas in Dubai and Afghanistan, where he trained law enforcement, Cox said he fell in love with the European coffee scene. He described the scene as one less centered on the commercialism that’s so prevalent in chain American cafés, and more focused on relaxation – or a place that you can hunker down get some work done.
“It’s just a vibe that I fell into when I was overseas,” he said. “A very common thing throughout Europe and throughout the Middle East are the coffee houses and the coffee lounges where you can go and just informally do a lot of work.”
Other decorations and visuals set up in the shop are inspired by things Cox said he’s seen or experienced while travelling.
Dodd, a coffee enthusiast, said he’s had the idea for a coffee house for a while and brought Cox aboard. Since then, they’ve been waiting for the right location to open up.
During an interview with the Tribune, in the not-quite-complete spot, Cox and Dodd said they attached “coffee shop” to the business’s moniker rather than “café” because it better captures the vibe they’re hunting. They want it to be comfortable – with warm colors, attractive yet bizarre artwork on the walls and comfortable furniture.
Since starting work on the location in February, they’ve torn out walls in the long, narrow building to make it feel as open as possible.
Cox added a lot of the ideas and the work came from students at the Kokomo Area Career Center – an organization in which he’s involved – and he’s glad to have provided them some experience outside the classroom.
“It’s one thing to make something in the classroom, but to get out of the classroom and see it used in real-life application, they can take pride in that,” he said.
“Gives them a little bit of ownership.”
That could be seen as an appropriate partnership, because Dodd and Cox, both parents to teenagers, said they hope the shop is a popular spot for the under-21 crowd. Business hours will stretch into the early morning on Fridays and Saturdays and into the later evening on the other weekdays – giving people who aren’t old enough or interested in the bar scene an option if they’re looking to stay out late.
Along with the coffee drinks, made with beans from the Lafayette-based Copper Moon Coffee, Dodd and Cox said they’ll be offering breakfast items like waffles and a cereal bar; and food items like Panini sandwiches, soup and salad. Other drinks will include fruit smoothies, protein shakes and more.
MO Joe Coffee Co. is on Facebook, where the owners will be posting updates on their upcoming opening.