February 15, 2013 at 3:03 PM
MILLBURN, NJ - A great cup of coffee and a warm, welcoming environment are just two of the many things you can expect walking into Rock ‘n’ Joe in Millburn.
Frank LaSaracina, owner of the Millburn coffee shop, said that in the last nine months he’s learned one thing: he loves his customers. He wants every single one to feel like they have a place in the store, kind of like a Cheers, but coffee instead.
“I love my customers,” he said. “If I’m going to do this successfully, I gotta know my customers.”
LaSaracina said that the Rock ‘n’ Joe franchise was named Best Coffee in NJ by a NJ magazine two years in a row. His personal favorite is their “sledge hammer” roast, which is a very bold tasting coffee.
When LaSaracina left his job in the corporate world, he was actually a patron of the Rock ‘n’ Joe in Point Pleasant. Nine months ago, he was able to purchase the store in Millburn in order to make business off of his love for a great cup of coffee.
The store itself is a large space that LaSaracina hopes he was able to turn into a warm place for people to meet, do business or just enjoy the ambiance. He calls the front of the store with leather couches and tables the family room, the middle of the store with tables and chairs for eating is the dining room and the back of the store has a conference table for business meetings.
The walls are covered in music memorabilia, records and guitars. Photos from patrons to the coffee shop can also be found on the wall. One of LaSaracina’s favorites is the one of Don McLean and one of Rock ‘n’ Joe’s customers. He feels it makes customers think a part of them is in the store as well.
“I offer something different,” he said. “It’s the environment. It’s the ‘Cheers’ effect.”
When Super Storm Sandy hit New Jersey, Millburn was out of power for what felt like forever, according to LaSaracina. Rock ‘n’ Joe’s had power restored after six days and customers came flying through the door.
“This place was like standing room only,” LaSaracina said. “People came in here and just set up offices.”
The free wi-fi and power LaSaracina was offering his patrons drew more and more in. But he believes Rock ‘n’ Joe gave them more than just a place to charge their cell phone or send out emails. He thinks it gave them a place to forget about a cold, dark house for a couple of hours.
“We made a lot of new friends,” he said. “I believe long-term, those things pay dividends.”
So whether it’s a warm cup of fresh, never burnt or stale coffee, new friends or the Beatles coming across the speakers every Sunday morning, Rock ‘n’ Joes is an environment that LaSaracina hopes everyone will be able to enjoy and return to.
“This is an extension of my family, and I hope it is for them, too,” he said.
Rock ‘n’ Joes can be found at 63 Main St. in Millburn. For more information, please visit https://www.facebook.com/RocknJoeMillburn.