“We knew we wanted a women focused business, we were super passionate about it and we have put a lot of sweat and tears into this place and its paying off, it really is… we are excited about what its doing for our community” – Sharayah Harper co-owner of Gypsy Javas
By Colorado Coffee Zine
Two years ago, long time friends Sharayah Harper and Cherie Wisniewski took on a project they’d both been dreaming about for the better part of their lives, their very own coffee shop. Their shared love for coffee, community service, and travel inspired them to uproot from Minnesota with their families and resettle in Pueblo, Colorado where they could combine all of the lessons from their cherished experiences at home and abroad into a business by women for women, Gypsy Javas.
“It’s kind of a funny story.. we really were just tired of the cold. We both wanted to get towards mountains, diversity, more coffee culture, warmer weather. Its like 30 below up there a lot of the time”, said Sharayah of the decision to move to Pueblo.
Both of them were leaving Minnesota with some serious coffee experience under their belts. Sharayah and her family had already owned a coffee business and Cherie had managed a shop for several years. Once Sharayah got a tip about the vacant space that would become Gypsy Javas, she immediately put in the call. Although neither she nor Cherie has seen the building themselves, the historic landmark with an existing kitchen and loft space sounded perfect.
The building is in a part of Pueblo that was once a central arts district and home to many diverse communities. From the mid-19th century onwards, the mining and farming opportunities of the region fueled various waves of Eastern European and other migration to Pueblo. The building’s history itself includes a refugee crisis and a massive fire. Needless to say, Gypsy Javas had found a home and 2 weeks later it was open for business.
Two years later, Sharayah and Cherie still recall the hard work it took to raise visibility of the once vacant business zone. They fliered and knocked on doors daily to get the word out about their shop. The personal approach worked because the name Gypsy Javas captures the self described quirky and off-color personalities Sharayah and Cherie bring to the business. It is also a nod to the traveling they have done in the past and hope to continue to do in the future. They talked to people and learned Pueblo was more of a food town than a coffee town. So they got to work maximizing the kitchen and meeting in the middle by expanding the food offerings and easing everyone into the coffee part.
Sharayah and Cherie had initially designed Gypsy Javas to be a “just coffee” model, but after all of the feedback, transitioning the business to an equal split model turned out to be a lot of fun. Cherie has infused the menu with some of Pueblo’s only Gluten Free pastry items and an inhouse chai that has become one of the shop’s signature beverages. Pueblo native, award winning coffee professional, and team lead Vicy Stone brings Gypsy Javas over a decade of expertly executed drinks, including her famous rainbow lattes, another local favorite.
The cafe recently kicked off its own roasting program under the name Uncharted Coffee Co. and inspired by popular demand, will begin bottling the chai and cold brew concentrates for grab-and-go availability. No matter how much growth lies ahead for Gypsy Javas, Sharayah and Cherie said they’re committed to remaining a local, female-owned business responding to the needs of their customers and their community.