Business Spotlight: Java Dreams | Racine County Eye

CALEDONIA — Melissa Rice, who works as an accountant by day, has realized her dream of owning a coffee shop that prides itself on offering more than just a cup of coffee. It provides a place of connection and community.

Racine County is now home to Java Dreams, a quirky yet modern coffee shop, cafe, small bakery and place to shop for local goods. Since March 2022, owner Melissa Rice has been turning what was once a dream into a reality at Caledonia.

“We’re locally owned and it’s more than just coffee,” she said.

A delicious treat from Java Dreams awaits you in Caledonia. – credit: Melissa Rice

Java Dreams made its mark on the Racine County map after the owner made the cross-country move from Wyoming. Rice’s accounting career also played a role in her coming to the Midwest.

What was new to the area was an established business in the west. Rice’s roots are in Racine, and her dreams are in southeast Wisconsin.

The store is conveniently located off Interstate 94 at 13600 7 Mile Road, Unit B, in Caledonia. You can have a snack and refreshment at the cafe or fill up your car at the nearby Mobil gas station. Customers don’t expect such a nice cafe to be attached to a gas station.

“It’s always a surprise for people when they walk in the door for the first time,” Rice said.

Java Dreams is open from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm Monday through Friday and from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday.

jack of all trades

During business hours, they offer a food and beverage menu that includes breakfast, pastries, soups, sandwiches, salads, and a variety of beverages.

Java Dreams also sells candles, home decor and minky blankets. The owner describes these custom-made blankets as extremely soft. To the touch, they are similar to fox fur.

Although Java Dreams operated on a smaller scale in Wyoming, Rice credits her time at home with the skills she learned.

“There was nothing to do in the mountains of Wyoming except cook, sew and garden,” Rice said.

Her life at home gave her the foundation for her business. She can bake, learned how to run a shop, and then brought it to Caledonia. However, this time she has the option to offer a menu and even small catering services. Catering can be arranged for funerals and work events. Custom orders can be placed by contacting Rice.

Her clients recognized her as a jack of all trades.

Community oriented

Recently, Java Dreams was able to provide catering services for a senior facility in the area. The coordinator said that pensioners love food.

“They (seniors) never want to leave the senior center,” Rice said.

However, cafes are an exception. They want to visit Java Dreams.

Another memorable moment early in her career was when she changed the life of a local resident with cancer.

“He says it’s his happy place,” Rice said.

Ron and his wife often come to the store. In the midst of fighting for his life, he likes to spend time eating cookies and being with his wife.

Their presence as regular customers and time spent in the cafe influenced Java Dreams. Rice is going to name a frosted sugar cookie after him. You’ll find Ron’s cookies on the menu.

The day may come when he stops visiting Java Dreams regularly. He will, however, always have an impression on the spot.

“I said you’ll always be here every day,” Rice said.

Java Dreams has something to tempt everyone’s taste buds. – credit: Melissa Rice

Java Dreams is planned to provide a celebration of Ron’s life when the time comes. Until then, she will continue to enjoy his company and the visitors who visit her place.

Family oriented

Rice has the support of a son and daughter who help manage the new business. In addition, she hired three more assistants, whom she considers just relatives. Similarly, she expresses the same respect for her clients.

From sweet (pictured above) to savory like this croissant sandwich, Java Dreams has you covered. – credit: Melissa Rice

On the menu you will find recipes that the owner has prepared herself, but she also offers a part of her heritage to the community through family recipes. Stop by to try recipes like Butt Nuts, her Great Aunt Vee’s mashed potato doughnuts.

Other fan favorites include Rice’s famous carrot cake and her mom Valerie’s pie crust.

Whatever you order and whenever you stop, Rice will be there with open arms.

When you visit Java Dreams, Rice wants customers to feel “relaxed and like they’ve just come home.”

“I have an electric fireplace and four leather chairs out front,” says the entrepreneur. “I also have 10-15 games for all ages to sit down and play and stay for a while.”


Business Spotlight

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