Meet Susan! | Stamford Moms

How many kids do you each have and what are their ages?
I have two kids. Amelia is 4.5-years-old and Oliver is 16-months-old.

What are your favorite family activities in Stamford?
We really enjoy spending time outside. Mianus is the perfect park to hike with our dog, Stamford Museum and Nature Center is a fun spot to see the animals and play on the playground. We enjoy dipping our feet (or often more) into Mill River. We would frequently walk downtown, take a ride on the carousel, visit the library, and play at the mall (pre-COVID)!

Tell us about Honey Joe’s Family Coffeehouse.
Honey Joe’s is actually named after my lifelong teddy bear. He was my mom’s, followed me through my whole life, and now is part of my own children’s lives. Honey Joe encompasses my vision for a community hub: comfortable for all with an air of sophistication with a bow tie. Just as stuffed animals join us on our life journey, I want people in every stage of life to feel at home at Honey Joe’s Family Coffeehouse.

To achieve this vision, I created a modern airy coffee bar with plenty of space and seating. It is perfect for relaxing, studying, working, or catching up with friends. An adjacent play area invites caregivers with young children. A private meeting room, The Den @ Honey Joe’s, creates a community event center where classes, workshops, meetings, parties and events can bring people together.

I chose to serve premium La Colombe coffee. They are based out of Philly, where my husband and I went to college, got married, and my love of coffee began! La Colombe has a unique product called the Draft Latte on tap, and we are the only shop in Connecticut that serves it, which is quite the honor!

Why did you decide to open Honey Joe’s? It’s basically every parent’s dream idea!
I decided to open Honey Joe’s for just that reason! It is every parent’s dream, including my own. My husband and I enjoyed going on coffee dates before kids where we would have our best conversations. But that became nearly impossible after kids, who are not designed to sit still at a table! Places catering to kids seemed to be our best option, but they weren’t exactly welcoming for adults. I wanted to create a place where families were included with the rest of the community, and of course, that served great coffee.

What has it been like opening a new business during COVID-19?
It certainly has been an adventure. Honey Joe’s was nearly two years in the making, so it was quite disheartening when the pandemic started during our construction phase and we were so close to launching. I’ve had to adapt my vision for a community hub in order to maintain safety.

Since the business was not open pre-pandemic, it did not qualify for any of the government assistance. It is also difficult to know how to market a store and play area when people are craving security and safety and are wary of trying something new and unknown.

On the other hand it has been amazing being a part of people reconnecting and the community blooming again as the state reopens. We are grateful for all the support the community has given us. As La Colombe (our coffee provider) has told us, our job is to be a “daymaker.” Providing the perfect cup of coffee can literally make someone’s day better. There is nothing more motivating than that sentiment during these times.

What COVID-19 safety precautions are you taking for the play areas? Can you rent the space for events?
We are following the reopening guidelines for restaurants and indoor recreation. This basically means that we are not combining non-associated groups of people and cleaning between groups. So unfortunately drop in play is not an option right now.

We are renting the space out for private friend/family groups to enjoy exclusive use of the play area for their family or pod, and limiting the number of people in the group. You can rent it for small events, and have had a few birthday celebrations, moms groups, and family get-togethers enjoy the space already. We then thoroughly clean in between.

What is your personal favorite drink or food item at the shop?
My favorite coffee drink on the menu is Honey Joe’s Signature Latte. I generally don’t like my coffee sweetened, but the organic honey syrup we use gives it a subtle sweetness while the cinnamon gives it depth. It has been a quick customer favorite as well!

I also really like the Peachy Green smoothie. It is very refreshing. All our smoothies are made with real fruit and veggies and have no added sugar.

And for a fun treat, the Cold Brew Milkshake is divine! Perfect for these hot summer days.

What about Honey Joe’s are you most looking forward to?
We opened on July 2nd, but I am looking forward to opening to my complete vision once the COVID risk is lower. I want a bustling community hub with drop-in play, classes, workshops, events and parties! I am looking forward to providing a place where people can relax and be happy.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten from another mom?
“You are the best mom for your child: trust and be kind to yourself.” There is so much conflicting, confusing parenting advice out there, but ultimately, each child is different, each family is different, and you know your children better than any book or any other person.

But also, “No good ever comes from a naked toddler sitting on the couch.”

Honey Joe’s is open 7 days a week at:
5 Broad St., Unit 2B
Stamford, CT 06901

Parking is available in the Target parking garage.

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