It’s been 12 years of business, Mickey Creech and his family owning and running the Java Joe’s coffee drive-thru in a parking lot on U.S. 90.
It’s a little and neatly landscaped building where cars can drive through on either side and order in person from the window, where Creech stood on Wednesday, filling orders and calling his customers by name — asking Cammie about her family and asking Kelly if she was just getting off work.
“We don’t need a drive-thru speaker,” he said. “We take your order face-to-face.”
The unique concept — a coffee drive-thru — was instantly popular, branched out to Gulfport and D’Iberville, and now has downsized back to the one shop at the original Ocean Springs location. It has supported his family and extended family for years, along with employees.
But last week threw the little business into a spin. A burglar, or burglars, on the night of Sept. 22 hit the shop that is so small you can reach across it and took everything of value and one thing that was invaluable.
They took the sales tablets and a few things worth a total of about $1,000. And they took the single dollar bill tacked to the wall, just out of reach above the window. They took the first dollar Java Joe’s ever made. It had been on the wall for 12 years with a note attached that explained what it was.
Creech said he knew something was wrong that Friday morning, when he stuck his key in the dead bolt and it opened too easily. It was dark because work begins at 5 a.m. on weekdays and 7 a.m. on Saturdays.
Inside was a mess. He said, he went back to his car and called police. Someone had thrown a rock through the drive-up window, actually missed and hit the building on the first try.
The machines that produce the specialty coffees, teas, smoothies and espresso were undamaged, so for that, he said they were lucky. There was no other money in the shop.
The burglar who took the dollar off the wall, also took two waters out of the fridge.
Who does that?
“Our first dollar,” he said. “It was the point of it for us. It wasn’t that it was a dollar. We had it framed.”