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Church Hill Catches Coffee Craze

"This neighborhood has no services," Depew notes of the lack of retailers and restaurateurs in the pedestrian-heavy enclave north of Broad Street, marked now by ubiquitous gentrification. "Church Hill is a happening, hot community. It's time for some quality and style in a cool place where you can get a breakfast burrito with real fresh avocado," she says.

A longtime restaurateur, who has managed establishments from Irvington to Australia, Depew's efforts represent a growing trend in Richmond: the independent neighborhood coffeehouse. If successful, these could give corporate competition a run for its money.

In the past 18 months, unique versions of urban coffee houses — offering much more than just java — such as Crossroads in Westover Hills/Woodland Heights, Plant Zero in Manchester and Café Gutenburg in Shockoe Bottom — have opened and enjoyed instant success, notes John Woodward, economic development director for the city.

Underway, he says, are neighborhood java emporiums for North Side in Bellevue and another in Church Hill — Captain Buzzie's — at the corner of 26th and Broad streets.

Depew says that with each new coffeehouse operating in a distinct style and a distinct location, there's plenty of business. In addition to offering her own Jumpin J's label of coffees and organic teas, she'll sell "everything from housewares to rubber ducks" as a European-style market.

More than anything, Depew expects her presence will spur a lasting love. "I've wanted to feel at home somewhere for a long time," she says, "and this has done it for me." Jumpin J's opens this week, with an official grand opening Aug. 15. Hours are Monday - Friday, 7 a.m.-7 p.m.; weekends, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. — Brandon Walters

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