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JAM Coffee & Community

A new community coffee shop opened this past March on Parkside. JAM Parkside, the newest addition to the Buffalo coffee shop offerings, provides customers a great corner café experience – to sit, enjoy a warm drink, and appreciate the diverse and charming neighborhood. 

Co-owners Jesse Crouse, Amber Small, and Monica Cichon raised the money for the construction of JAM from shareholders, and have structured the business as an intrastate offering, meaning they can get investments from New York State residents. This unusual but refreshing business structure offers a community ownership stake, which is reflected within the café.

(L-R) Jesse Krouse, Amber Small, and Monica Cichon

“When Monica and I decided we wanted to open this coffee shop we didn’t do it because we wanted to open a coffee shop, we did it because we wanted to do something beneficial to the community,” Small said. “Setting up through that formal structure of a benefit corporation ensures that we will be community minded.”

Each owner understands the importance of the community they’re a part of – Small and Cichon are neighbors who have lived in the area for years. According to the owners, part of what makes the two-year journey of JAM’s opening so exciting, is the support they’ve gotten from the community.

“This has been really a labor of love, not only for us but for the whole community,” Small said. “We’ve had people who’ve come in and said, ‘I’ve been waiting for this for so long. I’ve been following you online.’ It’s been really cool to see everyone who’s literally just as excited as we are that we’re opening.”

Another part of what makes JAM so community-minded is that everything – from their interior design to the products they sell – is about connecting the community and local business. It’s one of the things they’re most proud of, the team mentioned.

They’ve partnered with Tipico through their co-owner Jesse Crouse, and JAM’s pastries and bread come from Breadhive and Mundy Cakes. While you’re sitting down enjoying the coffee and treats, you’ll notice that the bar section is a repurposed gym floor, and the light boxes were custom made for the space.

“I think the aesthetic we’re going for is really just clean and simple,” Small said. “We want to focus on the product we serve, and on the quality of the coffee and the pastries. We don’t really want an aesthetic that detracts from that. So, by having more of a minimalist aesthetic, we can really focus on the product that we’re offering, which is first class.”

All the hard work Crouse, Small, and Cichon have put into their dream coffee shop is now paying off as customers stream in and enjoy it. It is clear that JAM is in a great location right across from the Buffalo Zoo and Delaware Park, and next door to Parkside Meadow and other local shops, including Fairy Cakes Cupcakery. The new corner café helps to make this Parkside block an exciting hub for the community.

JAM Parkside | 301 Parkside Avenue | Buffalo NY 14214 | (716) 381-8828 | Facebook | 7am to 7pm daily

Written by Abby Wojcik

Abby Wojcik

Abby Wojcik is a student at Canisius College majoring in English and creative writing with a minor in women and gender studies. She is the Features Editor of The Griffin Newspaper and an Executive Board member of Women & Gender Studies Club at Canisius. She is also a freelance writer with The Lancaster-Depew Sun and Rise Collaborative. She is passionate about journalism, poetry, art and all things Buffalo. When not in the classroom, she can usually be found in local coffee shops drinking a chai tea latte.

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