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One Year Later: KJ's Coffee Bar celebrates its first anniversary

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Kenny and Kristin Johnson have lived in their northeast Denver neighborhood for six years, raising a young family (Rayah, three, and Dominick, fourteen weeks). One day on a walk around the area, they passed a vacant storefront beside a thrift store that was only open once a month, and Kristin said it would be an ideal spot for a neighborhood coffee shop. Although neither had a background in the restaurant industry, "we both have a business mindset and were determined to make it happen," Kenny says. So they started developing a business plan -- "and the rest is history!"

KJ's Coffee Bar opened at 1710 East 25th Avenue last August and will celebrate its first birthday with a bash all day Saturday, August 15. To mark the occasion, we asked the Johnsons to tell us what the first year had been like, and Kenny responded with the following.

Why did you start KJ's?We wanted to open something that not only we could enjoy as a business venture but also give the neighborhood a place to socialize, providing a since of community.

How has your mission changed over the last year? Our Mission has not and will never change. We have always been and forever will be "Your Neighborhood Coffee Shop with family values"!

What has changed is how involved our neighborhood has become over the past year? We could not have made it this year without the support of our friends and neighbors.

What was your favorite moment over the last year?> Our opening Day. Our first day of business was a Saturday morning and it rained cats and dogs and we had a full house, including our normal Saturday morning kiddie Rat Pack in their footed PJs!

What's been the best surprise over the past year? The finalization of our beer and wine license in July. It took us several months, but the amount of support from the neighborhood was unbelievable. We really have been blessed.

What's the first thing you'd tell someone who wanted to get into the business?> Good luck and be patient. Get involved in the community of your business, partner with local businesses and make sure that you enlist tons of local help and support!!!

To reach KJ's, call 303-495-2020 or go to www.kjscoffeebar.com.

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