Jess is "still serving"
Small shop is part of downtown’s comeback
December 7, 2023 | View PDF
BLUE RIVER: It may not be brick and mortar but a small coffee shop is making a stand as the first business to be up and running in “downtown” Blue River.
“I didn’t think about it,” admits Jess Boykin when asked about that status. “It’s soaked in now and it’s kind of awesome.”
Growing up near Bear Creek, she had life-long ties to the area but an urge to serve caused her to change course. She attended McKenzie Schools until the ninth grade when her desire to be part of the military caused her to move to Bend and enroll in the Oregon Youth Challenge High School a military academy whose curriculum also stresses community service and responsible citizenship.
She spent the next nine years in a U.S. Army uniform, after going overseas on her first deployment. Like too many others of her generation, Jess’s career ended with injuries from an exploding IED that placed her on 100% disability support.
She joined the fire department the year before the Holiday Farm Fire. “It felt like something I could do, not only for myself but as a little something extra for the community,” she recalls. When the fire hit she stayed behind to fight it for four days before being relieved.
Now an Emergency Medical Technician with the Upper Mc-Kenzie Rural Fire District, Jess said joining up helped “fill the hole from the military,” because she “still had that ache of wanting to join in.”
Part of the appeal of opening and owning a business like Jessup’s Java, she says, is the flexibility it offers. As an active EMT, there are times when she’s the only one available upriver to respond to a call. That’s one of the reasons people might see a fire truck parked next to her shop after she’s returned from a call.
As a sole proprietor, she is also in charge of her scheduling, which now has her on-site from 7 to 2 on Mondays through Thursdays, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays.
During those hours people can order biscuits & gravy, breakfast sandwiches or tacos to start their day, or sandwiches for an afternoon lunch. Although Jess says people can confidently order “any coffee that any other coffee shop offers,” locals seem to be favoring flavors like Peppermint Patty or pumpkin at this time of year.
So far, she says she’s been keeping the menu fairly simple as she gets a feel for her new business and customer preferences. Looking ahead she’s sure the winter season will cause some adjustments to the days/times when she’s open as the temperatures fall.
“Right now I’m making sure I’m set for winter because my goal is to stay open,” Jess says. It’s a two-way street she feels because “the community has been so supportive and people have even been sharing my posts on Facebook to help support me.”