Tommy and I were tourists today. We made a run to Wal-Mart in Independence, IA to get things for detasseling, which begins this Saturday. And then we walked around the town. Located about 15 minutes from where we live, Independence ("Indy" to the locals which is very weird to me, since I lived in Indianapolis, which is also an Indy) is an important city around here. Besides having the nearest Wal-Mart, it's the county seat to Buchanan County and the gateway to other major cities, such as Waterloo and Cedar Rapids via I-20.
One thing I did not expect to find today was Em & Jerri's Coffee Co. The local coffee shop in our town recently closed, much to our distress (Midwestern farmers aren't really the type to sit with a cup of chai and read in a cafe), so we've been on the lookout for another cool place to go. As we drove through downtown Independence, Tommy and I spotted Em & Jerri's neon electric cappuccino and ice cream neon signs and decided to stop in.
I was immediately impressed by 1950's decor, variety of tables and chairs, and chalkboard menu full of desserts and coffee drinks with remarkably low prices. They sell The Republic of Tea products. For lunch they offer a simple daily sandwich (usually a Maid Rite or pulled pork BBQ, as per the Iowan pallet), as well as potato salad and chips. I had a half chicken salad sandwich on marble rye bread and Tommy had a 2 croissants. We both had mango smoothies that were delicious.
At the back of the store is an area called the Newsroom, which pays homage to the building's history as the offices of a local newspaper by posting framed clips on the wall. Em & Jerri's also provides free Wi-Fi, I am happy to report. I will say that the place was pretty cold, so bring a jacket or get a hot drink. Overall, though, I was extremely pleased with the find. I wanted to ask the woman in charge, whom I assumed was Em or Jerri, about the shop but she was busy as we were leaving.
But even more remarkable is what I read about Em & Jerri's Coffee Co online. Em is actually 21-year-old woman living with a disability. You can read more about her story here. I am so happy to have found a place that not only provides coffee in a fun atmosphere but has also given an entrepreneurial young woman an amazing oppertunity.
So, if you're ever in Independence, IA, check it out :-)