Visionary Coffee Shop Becomes One of Janesville’s Favorite Meeting Places

Visionary Coffee Shop Becomes One of Janesville's Favorite Meeting Places

Issue: Develop an unconventional coffee shop
Action: Successfully resolve city concerns
Outcome: A beloved Janesville institution is born

Steve and Kathy Dean had a vision. A minister for 30 years, Steve wanted to build a coffee shop that he and his family would own and operate. He and Kathy imagined a community gathering place, where people of all kinds would come together to have coffee, break bread, and build community bonds.

The Deans had never owned a business, and didn’t know where to start. A local banker referred them to Fred Wesner of Nowlan. Fred helped Steve and Kathy work their way through the process of purchasing the right piece of land and obtaining all the necessary government approvals. It wasn’t easy. City planning staff was initially opposed to permitting the Deans’ unconventional plan, beginning with the configuration of the lot and the proposed building. The land would need re-zoning. In addition, the Deans would require an easement across City land, and also City agreement to place the building at the back of the lot, instead of the front, in order to meet the terms of a recently passed ordinance governing building aesthetics. Fred met with the officials and the Plan Commission, carefully worked through their concerns, and ultimately convinced the City to approve Steve’s plan.

Steve and Kathy’s vision became Mocha Moment, one of Janesville’s best-loved gathering places. People from all over the area come to Mocha Moment to drink coffee and enjoy fresh baked goods, relishing the warmth of the Deans’ stone fireplace in winter and sitting on the deck overlooking woods in the summer. Steve and Kathy know most of their regular customers by name. Among them are Fred Wesner, his Nowlan partners, and many of the same City officials who didn’t think the Mocha Moments idea would work. No one in Janesville questions their vision now.

See more of the Mocha Moment story at

Leave a Reply