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Biz bits: Java Monkey has a new owner, Stein Investment Group owns Baby Kroger

Business Decatur Food Metro ATL Tucker

Biz bits: Java Monkey has a new owner, Stein Investment Group owns Baby Kroger

The Java Monkey in Decatur before it was destroyed by a fire two years ago. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

Here’s a quick look at business news in our community.

– Java Monkey, a Decatur staple for over 25 years, was recently sold to a new owner. 

Jessica Williams, who ran the business for 12 years, sold the business to Lora De Roover, a young entrepreneur in her early 20s who has already made some big changes to the business. She switched to Lavazza coffee, made by an Italian company, and took some food items off the menu, like salads. She’s added a new item to the menu: Belgian waffles made using an 108-year-old recipe.

De Roover is Belgian, but she’s spent many years in the United States. Prior to opening the business, she was diagnosed with brain tumors and went through a long recovery process.

“I always wanted to own a coffee shop when I was younger,” she said. “I came to Decatur and I found my home here.”

The changes have not been welcomed by everyone Yelp reviews show a dislike of the new coffee and longtime customers are also frustrated that the company is no longer selling alcohol, among other complaints.

De Roover said Lavazza is popular in Europe and she grew up drinking it. She said she still has to obtain the permits to sell alcohol again.

“It’s coming back,” she said. “I’ve told a lot of the customers.”

Other changes long time customers might notice include new furniture and repainting inside the building. The company also intends to display new art from local artists.

De Roover said changes will be better for Java Monkey in the long run, she said.

“It’s about keeping Java Monkey, Java Monkey, but cleaning it up, refreshing it,” she said. “It hasn’t been renovated in 25 years. You can’t get away with that.”

– Stein Investment Group confirmed to Decaturish that it purchased the Kroger store on Commerce Drive, aka the “Baby Kroger,” last year. 

Stein paid $3.8 million for the property, county records show. The news came up during a discussion at a recent City Commission meeting about another project backed by Stein Investment: a proposed storage facility on Clairmont Road. The City Commission unanimously rejected the zoning that would allow that project to move forward.

Jeff Stein with Stein Investment Group says Kroger has a long-term lease and the company has no immediate plans to redevelop the property.

“Kroger still has plenty of lease term,” he said. “From my understanding, people like that store a lot. It’s a great location.”

– Iora Primary Care is opening three new practices in the Atlanta area.

The new locations are:

·       3527 Memorial Drive, Unit W, Decatur, GA 30032

·       4850 Sugarloaf Pkwy., Ste. 101, Lawrenceville, GA 30044

·       4424 Hugh Howell Road, Ste. D, Tucker, GA 30084

“The new practices mean that Humana Medicare Advantage members in Georgia have access to Iora’s three primary care practices,” the company announced in a press release. “The new practices, operated by Iora Health, will accept all Humana Medicare Advantage HMO and PPO plans offered in Georgia, as well as Original Medicare.”

– The Village Theatre, a local improv theater and training center, is celebrating its 10-year anniversary next month. 

“Village Theatre was founded in 2008 by 13 local improvisers who met while performing at Whole World Theatre,” a press release from the company says. “The cast of 13 friends that would become The Village Theatre (VT) originally preformed only one show a week, titled Sunday Improv Sunday (a callback to the U2 hit, Sunday Bloody Sunday), at the bar TenHigh in the Virginia Highland neighborhood. The group gained a loyal following, and they started The Village Theatre in 2008. At that time, Village Theatre performed only two shows a weekend, which has now grown to over 20 weekly shows being performed on the theatre’s two stages, Thursday-Sunday.”

The theater is located at  349 Decatur St SE, Atlanta, GA 30312. For more information and a list of shows, click here.

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