Jacksonville Daily Progress
Jacksonville Joe's owner Larry Frisinger is a “do it yourself” kind of guy.
When Frisinger moved from Seattle to Jacksonville with his wife Charla a few years back, he quickly came to the conclusion there was really no decent coffee in town — other than his.
“I remember making coffee for my friends and they were like, 'Dude! You could totally sell this!'” said Frisinger, 39.
So together with his wife, Frisinger pooled his resources and opened a coffee stand. Prior to his coffee career he worked as a copy machine repair technician for over 10 years.
Then, Frisinger grew annoyed with the constant runs to the store it was taking to purchase the chocolate used in his drinks. So, he secured a recipe and started making his own.
The result is a loyal following for Jacksonville Joe's — an at least a 40-customer a day business that has become in the eyes of many local residents the very definitive place to secure morning caffeine.
Located in the Century 21 parking lot on south Jackson street near the intersection of Rusk, Frisinger's stand is currently the only coffee drive thru business in town. It offers various types of coffee, smoothies, and yummy sweat treats.
Local coffee aficionado Kim “Mama K” Holman describes the business as “a necessity for the coffeeholic.”
“I have ordered several different variations of coffee and have been pleased every time,” she said in a recent Business Confidential column. “Two times I drove up and told him (Frisinger) what I wanted in my coffee and he nailed it every time.”
In addition to his “do it yourself” gusto, Frisinger is also a planner. He gets up around 3:30 a.m. every morning and brews all the espresso he will use for the next day or two, to spare customers the "burned" taste in cups that have been brewed on the spot.
Just to seal the sweet deal with his customers, he puts a chocolate covered coffee bean on top of every drink.
The prices range, for instance, from $3.79 to $4.60 for a 16-ounce or 24-ounce Frozen Joe. The menu includes smoothies, iced mochas, iced lattes, hot lattes, cocoa with no joe inside. Not to mention specialty drinks and new concoctions. The stand also offers gift cards for $5, $10, and $25.
Frisinger works ferociously during the day in his 12,000 square foot stand, which has a small air conditioner to help him battle the heat during East Texas summers.
Frisinger and his wife opened the stand April 20 last year. The Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting for Jacksonville Joe's on Nov. 16, 2012.
And the business continues to tantalize the public with concoctions such as the “Frozen Joe,” which is their answer to Starbuck's frappuccino — chocolate and caramel blended with coffee and ice.
February's drink of the month was “Love Potion” with white chocolate, cinnamon and coffee.
Frisinger knows most of his regulars by name. His 40th customer each day gets to drink free — although he doesn't tell them the winner the drink is free until after he takes his or her order and prepares it.
One drive through customer who was his 34th on Wednesday overheard Frisinger give his age of “39” to a Jacksonville Daily News reporter. She excitedly inquired if she was going to be the 40th customer of the day — appearing disappointed when Frisinger explained she was not.
If Frisinger gets 40 or so customers, he breaks even for the day. His daily customer count went as high as 89 on Friday earlier this month.