Weather Forecast


Jackson's Coffee Choices to remain much the same under new owners

JACKSON -- To the relief of its dedicated customers, the new owner of Coffee Choices intends to keep the café in downtown Jackson as it is, though she will add more organic coffee to the menu.

"What they're doing is working for a reason," said Susan Reiter of Estherville, who will officially take possession of the business Jan. 1. "The only changes might be adding a few things here and there, as customers request them."

When Don and Karen Wells were first thinking of selling Coffee Choices a few years ago, Reiter was just becoming a customer there. She drove 26 miles to Jackson and then another 26 miles home almost every day to bring her son to school, and found herself occasionally making the drive on days she didn't need to go to Jackson, just to have a cup of coffee at Coffee Choices.

"It's a 26-mile trip so it's a darn good cup of coffee," Reiter said.

She didn't become seriously interested in purchasing the business until last summer, when she asked Don and Karen whether they were still interested in selling. They answered yes, and asked if she knew anyone interested in buying Coffee Choices.

"I do," she answered. "Me!"

There were conversations about what would be needed on both sides to make the transition, and everything fell into place, Reiter said.

"I like the community here," Reiter said, emphasizing how friendly and welcoming Jackson is. "We have a lot of fun customers here."

Reiter graduated from Estherville High School and studied to become a medical secretary at Spencer College in Spencer, Iowa. Her work experience includes time working as a counselor for a nonprofit organization, working for a teaching chiropractor and managing the Softail Saloon in Superior, Iowa.

"I've had a lot of food service in my past," said Reiter, who has been working at Coffee Choices since the beginning of November in preparation for becoming its owner. "The details about coffee, how to make espresso -- that's been a learning process."

Reiter is trying to learn as much as she can from the Wellses before they leave, and she will have to hire someone when Don and Karen are gone. Don will stay on with the business for a while after it becomes Reiter's, too.

When she first wanted to buy the business, Reiter thought it would be a nice thing to do "some day."

"I encourage everyone to follow their dreams and I wasn't following my own advice," Reiter said. "I believe things happen for a reason. I was meant to leave something else and come here."

Reiter pointed to the words stenciled over the Coffee Choices door: "What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?"

"I wrote it down," Reiter said, recalling the first few times she came to the business. Later she found out that question had inspired the Wellses to start Coffee Choices.