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Village Coffee Shop: New Owners Raleigh Morrow and Juli Jette Continue Long-Standing Tradition of Personal Service

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Longevity is a hallmark of the Village Coffee Shop. Fritz Rodd, the original owner, started the business about 1940 as a doughnut and coffee shop two blocks south of the old Lodi High School. 

After Fritz Rodd, ownership transferred to Flow Sailers, then Roseland Summerfeld, the third owner. The following owners, Marylou Tardity and Ramona Hixson, sold their shop to Juli Jette and Steve Weil in 2016. The two were partners in the coffee shop until 2017, when Juli and Raleigh Morrow bought out Steve Weil’s half of the business. Raleigh is cousin to Roseland Summerfeld, which means the business has been in their family a total of 37 years. 

Maintaining a Tradition
Juli, a single mother to three sons, had been working as the main cook for 12 years when the purchase was made. Juli and Raleigh’s wife, Jeanne, who passed away, took breast cancer treatment at the same time about ten years before. “Jeanne even suggested to me that we needed to help Juli and the Village Coffee Shop four months before she died of a lung disease,” Raleigh noted. “In buying the Village, we were able to keep a local historic restaurant and build a future for our children. We love Lodi and the people here. There is nothing better than talking with old friends and making new friends every day!” 

The Village at 416 West Lodi Avenue continues to fill up and grow under their management. They were planning to double the size, and when that did not materialize, fate stepped in and the old Omelette House at 700 East Victor Road became available.  

Creating Growth
“That’s when we decided to expand to two locations! Why? To bring tradition to the east side of Lodi!” exclaimed Raleigh. “Really what sets us apart from other local and chain restaurants is everything is truly homemade. We do not get things pre-packaged. For example, our biscuits are made fresh every day from scratch, and we make our own pie crusts. We do not order out for our cakes; we make them ourselves.”

New Menu Items
In addition, they are now offering homemade cinnamon rolls and barbecue specials at reasonable prices. The second Saturday of each month, they hold the event Cars and Coffee, during which guys and gals bring their special cars to coffee with their friends.

“We are Lodi. During any month, about 1,000 Lodians come through our restaurants. We plan and put together many charity events during the year, especially at the year end, with Thanksgiving and Christmas. We also raise money for Lodi schools and UC Davis Medical Center Pediatrics Division,” Juli and Raleigh elaborated. “We feel that as God has blessed us and we should help others.”

Both have learned along the way that people are their best resource. “As we help people, we learn they in turn want to help others,” Raleigh affirmed. “We work with members of the homeless population by helping individuals learn to help themselves. We have hired 16 people from the Salvation Army in our restaurants and many have turned their lives around. We work to get local businesses involved politically and to promote Lodi’s uniqueness.

“If God continues to bless us, there is no telling how many Juli and Raleigh’s Village Coffee Shops there may be in Lodi.”

Visit them on Facebook at Village Coffee Shop for events and more information.