Java History

2007 - Inception

2007 -

Inception

Originally built as a hardware store in 1945, and once home to the Schneider-Beaver Lanes bowling alley, 20 South State Street changed hands in September 2007 – from Fox In The Wall owners to Adel, Diane, Ed and Reham Shadi – and Java Central was born!

Envisioned as a place in Westerville for friends to gather and strangers to meet over quality specialty coffee, this lively place many of us now call home started out as a quiet mom and pop shop with just one employee! 

Ralph and Jane Denick were quickly enchanted by their standout decaf espresso and became early regulars.

2008 - Brewing Passion

2008 -

Brewing Passion

Ralph and Jane with trumpet and tuba in front of Fourth Friday

The pair were heavily engaged in supporting music and the arts in their hometown.

Jane was President of the Westerville Arts Council, a member of the Visitors and Convention Bureau, and the tuba section leader of the Westerville Concert Band. Ralph was a member of the Uptown Review Board, the Westerville Arts Council, and Vice President / trumpet player for the Concert Band.

Together they were looking for a new outlet for their passions in Uptown!

2009 - Grand Re-Opening!

2009 -

Grand Re-Opening!

The Denicks bought into Java Central as co-owners and partners and re-envisioned it as a “music and arts” café: they expanded the back room into an art gallery and  music venue.

Ralph immediately started Open Mic Friday and Scheduled Performer Saturday events, and Jane promptly initiated the Java Art Gallery – both of which have remained vital to the core of Java all these years.

They celebrated a Grand Reopening on Friday, March 10, 2009!

Ralph and Jane viewing new music stage and art gallery

2010 - "Serving People. Serving Coffee."

2010 -

"Serving People. Serving Coffee."

Andy serving customers and meeting Megan

Andy Piper began working as a barista, and his mad skills caught the attention of a super awesome customer named Megan. Heart eyes ensued.

In time, his role would grow through management to ownership with Megan and Ralph, and they would carry forward a Java mentality they experienced as employee and customer – above all else they wanted Java Central to continue improving people’s lives.

2012 - Westerville Proud

2012 -

Westerville Proud

Ralph and Jane became the sole owners of JC, which was experiencing incremental growth each year!

Meanwhile, Westerville was named the 5th Friendliest town in America by Forbes. The following year, in 2013, another study named Westerville the Best Suburban City in America!

Uptown Java Central building

2014 - Passing of a Legend

2014 -

Passing of a Legend

The Westerville community mourned the loss of local legend, champion of the Arts, and Java Central owner – Jane Denick. Her loving family dedicated a sculpture in her honor, titled “Family” by designer Terry Schmitter, that stands near the Alum Creek Amphitheater. Here she performed with the concert band and held local art events for many years.

Jane’s cultural impact persisted for years in the form of the Jane Denick Annual Advancement of the Arts Award – a $500 grant offered by the Westerville Visitors and Convention Bureau in support of local artist initiatives.

“Jane was one of the most competent and capable people around, and could research, learn, improve and teach anything, including complex IT processes. Yet she was consistently known as the nicest person most had ever met.”

– Ralph Denick

2015 - First Trip to Origin

2015 -

First Trip to Origin

Andy at Origin

Ralph continued on as sole owner until he brought in Andy and Megan Piper as part-owners, who soon began sourcing coffees for Java Central. The couple ventured on a first origin trip to Puerto Rico, fulfilling Andy’s longtime dream to visit a coffee farm and learn about coffee agriculture from the source.

Undoubtedly, the problems they learned about the industry then formed the trajectory of the company today. Their educational journey ignited within them the desire to be a good partner and try to alleviate the injustices and exploitation of coffee producers along the way.

“I believe that to be ethical you need to examine where your products and raw materials come from and who makes them. If we were going to roast coffee, I wanted to be able to do it with integrity. We use coffee that has been carefully sourced through vetted producers. We intentionally source our coffee with the goal of improving people’s lives.”

– Andy Piper

2016 - Meet Camilla!

2016 -

Meet Camilla!

Named for the Swedish chef’s chicken on the Muppets, the addition of Camilla gave Java Central the first on-site roastery in the city of Westerville!

Java Central joined the Specialty Coffee Association with Andy as their head roaster – one of the only certified roasters in Ohio, both in Coffee Roasting and Green Coffee Buying.

The same year, Andy and Megan traveled to Costa Rica to visit Don Eli Farm, securing an invaluable direct-trade partnership with Carlos Montero and his family.

Named for the Swedish chef’s chicken on the Muppets, the addition of Camilla gave Java Central the first on-site roastery in the city of Westerville!

Java Central joined the Specialty Coffee Association with Andy as their head roaster – one of the only certified roasters in Ohio, both in Coffee Roasting and Green Coffee Buying.

The same year, Andy and Megan traveled to Costa Rica to visit Don Eli Farm, securing an invaluable direct-trade partnership with Carlos Montero and his family.

2017 - Nitro Cold Brew

2017 -

Nitro Cold Brew

Java Central happily became the first Central Ohio coffee company to introduce Nitro Cold Brew! Bringing the game-changing concoction to the area generated massive interest from all walks of Central Ohio coffee connoisseurs.

JC was also voted the Neighborhood Favorite Coffee Shop for the first time this year on NextDoor (and has received the accolade every year since!)

2018 - Safe Space

2018 -

Safe Space

Joni Dickson with Progress Pride flag

Joni Dickson accepted a leadership position at Java Central. As the new General Manager she emphasized building a collaborative work environment that embraced JC’s ideals of being an inclusive, respectful and supportive space to foster growth and mental wellbeing for employees.

Joni also worked to implement new standards of guest service that best met the needs of our diverse community. JC’s landmark Pride Flag was displayed prominently for the first time. It exists today as a beacon for marginalized people in our society – to let them know that Java Central exists as a place of safety and acceptance for them.

2019 - Anti-Discrimination

2019 -

Anti-Discrimination

As a business, Java sponsored the Westerville Anti-Discrimination Ordinance – attending City Council meetings and voting in support of the legislation, helping it to pass. 

Also, for the first year (and every year running since!) Java participated as a vendor at the hugely popular Columbus Coffee Festival.

Protesting discrimination

2020 - Paying It Forward

2020 -

Paying It Forward

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic supply chain shortages experienced around the world, Java Central leveraged their wholesale accounts to provide, and deliver, desperately needed grocery items at no extra cost for the community.

They enacted their “Pay it Forward” program, receiving customer donations to help supply coffee to nursing homes, first responders and medical professionals working on the front lines during the pandemic.

Black Lives Matter

In response to the killing of George Floyd, the Java Central staff voted unanimously to support the BLM movement. They closed shop to protest together in downtown Columbus, and attended every gathering in Westerville – providing water, sunscreen and first-aid to fellow protesters.

As a business, Java Central also joined the 15% Pledge – ensuring at least 15% of their vendors were BIPOC-owned companies.

Roastery Expansion!

Andy and Maca in the Cupping Lab

Java Central’s in-house roasting operations had outgrown the allocated space at 20 South State Street and it was time for a move.

Their new facility boasted a quality control and cupping lab, roasting production space, and warehousing storage with a loading dock! The expansion would also be used for staff training, hosting professional clients, and renting to other small food producer partners.

2021 - Growing Presence

2020 -

Growing Presence

Ralph, Megan and Andy invested in 20 South State Street, becoming part owners of the brick and mortar that housed Java Central!

JC also launched their first-ever web store – planting roots that would enable them to share their positive messages and great coffees with many more people around the world.

Framed Andy Megan and Ralph in front of Java Central with keys

2022 - Crystal Anniversary

2022 -

Crystal Anniversary

Java Central at Zaftig polaroid

Java Central celebrated fifteen years of service to the Westerville community! They pioneered a second location in partnership with Zaftig Brewing Co. in Italian Village! The Uptown location was expanded to include more café and music seating, as well as a new private event space.

A new custom website (this one!) was built and launched to reflect JC’s massive growth and offer a glimpse into its future endeavors!

Sustainable Coffee Challenge

Java Central proudly joined the Sustainable Coffee Challenge, committing to pursue partnerships and conduct business operations with three overarching efforts in mind:

1. Advancing living incomes and the well-being of coffee farmers and workers.

2. Conserving and restoring forests on coffee farms and in coffee landscapes, reducing emissions, avoiding land-use change and storing carbon in the process.

3. Increasing the resilience of coffee production, reducing carbon emissions from farming, and ensuring a diverse portfolio of coffees into the future.

Spread the Love

Through it all, the core of this passion-filled business has remained. In addition to providing the local community and beyond with stellar products and services, Java Central strives to amplify the needs of marginalized groups.

By educating the general public on the spectrum of human struggles, and offering ways for their customers to support and alleviate them, Java Central acts as a messenger for love.

Thank You!

Kathy Rosati

All of the wonderful people working behind the scenes to make this special place what it is today would like to send out a heartfelt THANK YOU to their longtime regular supporters:

“To all of you out there who hold a special place in your heart for Java Central – we thank you, and we love you back!”

“If you can project your own peace and happiness you can lift people’s spirits, and Java Central is a place where I have always felt that from the people working here. It says a lot.”

– Kathy Rosati

The Story Continues...

Future plans for Java Central include completion of the Uptown Westerville café expansion; an extensive remodel of the brickwalk, awnings and signage; and a state-of-the-art Augmented Reality experience in the cafes!

Stay Tuned!