Friday, December 21, 2012

New coffee shop owner jumped on opportunity

Life has changed quickly for Christopher Genna and his family. In a matter of months, they purchased a coffee shop, moved four states away and opened a new business.

Genna and wife Jamie came to SML from Florida just a week before they started serving customers earlier this month at CJ's, which is named after their year-old son, Colin James.

It's located in the old Perfect Blends spot at 213 Scruggs Road in Moneta, right next to The General Store.

"My parents have lived down here for 10 years, and they were telling me about different opportunities down here," said Genna. "And we went and looked at several places, and one was right here [the coffee shop]."

For Genna, owning the coffee shop is a dream come true. He enjoys serving people and filling their bellies with good eats.

"I have enjoyed food and cooking for a long time," he said. "I've been in retail for over 25 years, and I worked in restaurants before that. This opportunity opened up here. I have family that lives here, so we went for it."

Not only did they want to be closer to family, but they also wanted to have more time for each other.

"Since we are just focusing on morning and afternoons at the coffee shop, I get that," said Genna. "In retail, I worked nights and weekends all the time, and we never had a set schedule for me to spend time with my son and wife. I have more time now than before, and we take Sundays off as a family day."

Genna purchased what used to be Perfect Blends from Corey Hansen, who, along with his wife, decided to go in a different direction.

The Smith Mountain Lake community has been very supportive, Genna said. So far, customers seem to like what he is dishing out for breakfast and lunch. At this time, Genna does not have a stove, but he does have an oven to make fresh baked goods every day.

For breakfast, there are bagels, cakes - the most popular is the crumb cake - muffins, cookies and biscuits. The blueberry muffins and banana muffins are popular, too. Customers also have a choice of sausage, sausage-and-cheese, ham-and-cheese or bacon-and-cheese biscuits.

CJ's is a coffee shop. Genna serves everything from espressos and cappuccinos to regular and decaffeinated coffee.

For lunch, customers have a choice of a "real" Kaiser roll shipped in from New York or a panini. The Boars Head meats are sliced fresh daily, and each sandwich is made to order. Soups also are available.

Genna said he hopes to offer more choices in the new year after they get a stove.

"I want to do more hot lunches and do some Italian food - that's what I do," said Genna. "I want to do some gourmet pizzas; I want to have eggs on the menu in the morning. I just want to expand the menu. If all goes well, we should be up and running with that in the spring."

If you don't have time to sit a spell, there is a drive-through to get your joe and go. Genna himself hopes to be on the go. He said he hopes to put his trailer to use so CJ's Coffee and Sandwich Shop can go mobile for special events.

CJ's Coffee and Sandwich Shop

213 Scruggs Road, Moneta 488-4223

Hours: Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.