The Java & Joe Story

  • Before becoming business partners, friends Lorraine Mariz and Joe Ruggiero worked in management at the Broadway Department Store. They were sitting at Gloria Jean's in the Santa Anita Mall one day in spring 1994 when they started to discuss their love of coffee and their vision for the ultimate coffee shop. A dream was born. They knew they wanted to open a shop away from Los Angeles. But, where? When scouting locations they found Ojai and fell in love with the area, the charming downtown and the people. Java & Joe Specialty Coffee, Tea & Gifts opened on November 1994. For three years the only workers were Lorraine, and Joe and sometimes their friend Matthew (for no pay, thanks). The business really took off in late 1997. They were able to hire employees, add to their assortment and fine tune the menu. They were living their dream. In November of 2019 they celebrated their 25th anniversary. Lorraine passed away from cancer in March of 2020 but Joe remains to ensure their dream lives on.