Mary Arkush and her husband Mike opened their business eight years ago with art in mind. Jerona Java Cafe was initially a coffee bar and gift shop, with the idea being to attract tourists on their way to Jerome from Sedona. Mary earned an art education degree from Western University in Michigan and made her career by entering dozens of shows each year. Her husband had his own machine shop.
From there, she said they wanted to create something with a quantifiable value. Arkush said they fell in love with 89A and the Verde Valley. "It took about 10 years to get this whole thing off the ground," she said. "We invested in this, we built the building, we designed it."
Mary Arkush and her husband Mike opened their business eight years ago with art in mind. Jerona Java Cafe was initially a coffee bar and gift shop, with the idea being to attract tourists on their way to Jerome from Sedona. Mingus Avenue, however, didn't turn into the thoroughfare for out-of-towners that Arkush had expected.
"We had to figure out, OK, the gift idea was great, but on paper it just was going to take too long to get that return," Arkush said. Instead, Jerona has become a hub for locals to gather and get a sandwich.
Since the tail end of 2005 when the business opened, a few sandwiches grew to a full cafe menu that accounts for half of Jerona's sales. Catering has also seen growth, especially in the last two years.
"The food actually has been kind of a saving grace for me," Arkush said. "It's the one aspect I feel I can be creative. It's even the art of doing business, making all of that happen."
Though locals make up the bulk of her customers, Arkush said out-of-towners have come into the area already acquainted with a dining experience that goes beyond the traditional sit-down, family-style restaurant.
"More and more people are coming in from cities to the Valley, and I think that actually has the biggest impact because they're the ones who are used to the atmosphere of a coffee shop," she said. "Our biggest evolution has been our customers getting used to the concept of the cafe."
A taste for boutique coffee has spread in the Verde Valley, Arkush said, along with how comfortable people are ordering at a counter.
"It's not just coffee that we're breaking boundaries in, it's the cafe style," she said. "Customers are used to franchises only having that cafe, they'll accept that, but when it's home grown they expect table service."
Jerona coffee has been made from beans roasted at Riviera Coffee Company Inc. in Chandler since the business's doors opened in 2006. They switched roasters once, but went back to Rivierra because Arkush could work closely with them to get the coffee she wanted.
"They've been wonderful about roasting very consistent coffee," she said. "We can talk about tweaking and adjusting."
677 E. Mingus Ave.
Cottonwood, AZ 86326
Monday - Friday 7:00am - 3:00pm
Saturday 8:00am - 3:00pm
Download the full menu (PDF)
Jerona offers many services to the community. Here are a few of the current ones:
Classic Car-Coffee Cruise-In
On the first Saturday of each month from 8am - 10am
We invite all classic car drivers to bring in their classics and enjoy a free coffee and fresh-baked classic cookie.
Old Town Mission Book Sale
We have a selection of gently-used hardcover books for sale in our dining area. Proceeds support the work of the Cottonwood Old Town Mission.
Featured Artist Show
Every two months we have a nex exhibit. The current one is "Photography", and highlights local individuals and group of 2-dimensional artists. Many of the works are for sale and all proceeds go directly to the artist. It's Jerona's way of supporting our artistic community!
Every second Saturday of the month, you'll find local artists under their tents and on the patio of Jerona. Your opportunity to purchase local artisans jewelry, sculptures, glassware, etc.
Mary at a recent bridal fair