Stone Mountain City Council approves permit for JavaVino

City of Stone Mountain Municipal Building. Photo by Dean Hesse.

By Tenesha L. Curtis, contributor 

Stone Mountain, GA — The Stone Mountain City Council discussed a special use permit for 5379 East Mountain Street at an in-person, special called meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 23.

All councilmembers were present except for Councilmember Shawnette Bryant. The permit application was submitted by Steve Franklin of Decatur. He co-owns JavaVino with his wife, Heddy Kühl, a sixth-generation, Nicaraguan coffee farmer.

“Her family has been farming coffee in Nicaragua since the 1880s,” Franklin said.

JavaVino is currently located at 579 N. Highland Avenue in Atlanta.

“We’ve created this direct supply chain from the coffee farm to our consumers, which just really doesn’t exist in most coffee applications,” he said.

Franklin described the current process of selling coffee in the United States as involving “four or five steps” from the time the coffee is picked to the time it finally reaches a retail store or cafe.

Franklin noted that JavaVino was different because, “That coffee has never left the family hands until we put it in our customer’s hands.”

He stated that JavaVino has been operational since 2004 and roasts about 1,200 pounds of fresh beans per week.

When Mayor Beverly Jones asked for citizen comments in support of the permit’s approval, multiple citizens voiced their support for having JavaVino come to Stone Mountain Village.

When Mayor Jones opened the floor for oppositional commentary, there was none.

The public hearing was closed, and the special called meeting began. Councilmember Gina Stroud Cox asked for more information about the wine that would be available at JavaVino if the permit were approved.

Franklin confirmed that bottles of wine would be available for sale, but that no wine would be produced on the premises.

“For this location, we’re looking at either consumption on the premise or selling bottles…to purchase and take home,” he said.

Councilmember Chakira Johnson asked if Franklin could “elaborate a little bit more on your interest in bringing your business to Stone Mountain Village.”

Franklin noted that the building was a good fit for the company’s shipping, receiving, warehousing, roasting, and retail needs.

“This gives us the ability to upgrade our facility,” he said.

In addition, he saw promise in being part of a cluster of businesses that “play off of each other.”

Franklin said he wanted JavaVino to contribute to that kind of business environment.

Councilmember Gil Freeman asked, “Your production, is it environmentally friendly?”

Franklin confirmed that all the coffee roasted is sustainably grown and “everything we’re putting out is pretty much just organic matter, and most of it’s certified organic to begin with.”

He noted that, when the business is roasting, there may be some smoke and aroma.

“It’ll smell like coffee. Sometimes it kind of smells like pancakes,” Franklin said.

Councilmember Teresa Crowe asked what kind of items would be sold in the retail area of the business.

Franklin said that there would be a small kitchen with appliances such as a small fryer and panini press. This setup allows them to make breakfast sandwiches and other light, healthier fare.

Crowe asked how long it would take JavaVino to be operational if the permit was approved. Franklin estimated that it would take somewhere between two and three months.

The council voted on the permit, and it was approved unanimously.

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