For many of the people of Manistee, Goody’s Juice & Java is like an extension of their homes. Families come to play Scrabble and sip hot chocolate, both high school and college students gather to work on homework, and groups ranging from casual get-togethers to formal meetings fill the tables every day. Ask anyone in town where you can find a good cup of coffee, and almost everyone will point you in the direction of Goody’s.
Step inside and you’ll immediately be struck by the bold-yet-understated color palette and the high tin ceilings. Sidle up to the counter and you will be greeted by a lively, smiling staff. Order anything off the menu, food or drink, and it’s certain to be delicious.
Located on a block of downtown Manistee that has seen many businesses come and go in recent history, Goody’s has been an anchor here since it opened in 2003. It’s won accolades from Traverse Magazine, The Northern Express, and two local TV news channels. It’s become an institution, a place where locals take solace in knowing that, in an ever-changing world, they always know what to expect when they walk in the door. However, the bustling coffee shop has recently undergone one major change: new ownership.
Founders Jim and Nancy Goodwin started the business as retirees, recareering and relocating from Flint to Manistee to start a new adventure. Eight years later, the Goodwins are enjoying retirement from the other side of the counter, frequenting the establishment as customers these days. They sold their labor of love to Dan and Rita Blamer in May 2011, marking a new chapter for the coffee shop.
The Blamers have long been in the coffee business and already owned Coffee Grounds in Grand Haven, but they eventually want to retire to Manistee. That, along with the shop’s comfortable, welcoming atmosphere, led them to buying the business. Purchasing another coffee shop has meant making some personal sacrifices; currently Rita runs Goody’s while Dan continues to work downstate, keeping the couple apart for most of the week. Is it worth it? Rita nods. “We just love it here.”
Being already established in the coffee shop business, the Blamers brought to the table with them not only experience but also some new ideas. “We added a few things to what was already a wonderful, established menu,” says Rita. You can still find Goody’s classics like the award-winning turkey asparagus panini and a wonderful combination of soup-sandwich-salad selections for lunch, alongside an expanded selection of baked goods. From incredible bagels big enough to split with a friend to new gluten-free treats, the additions and changes work in perfect harmony with the Goodwins’ longtime favorites.
Goody’s bakes on-site seven days a week, offering fresh, delicious baked goods every day. The coffee itself comes from Lansing-based Paramount coffee. And if the food and drink aren’t enough to draw you in, it’s also a great place to hang out. “It’s a warm and friendly atmosphere,” Rita says. “The staff is great, the customers are relaxed; it’s just a welcoming, fun environment.” In total it’s a combination that’s hard to come by, and one that sets Goody’s Juice & Java apart in its awesomeness. ~Rhonda Greene, Feature Writer
Goody’s Juice & Java
343 River Street
Manistee, MI 49660
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