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Mississippi Small Business
Development Center
Transforming Mississippi One Small Business at a Time


Posted December 5, 2016
Hattiesburg, MS

Now completing their third year in business, JavaWerks continues to delight their regular clientele and warmly welcome NEW students and customers to their unique coffee house. As confident and community-integrated favorites, the Potenzas take much-deserved pride in the 7-day-a-week total family commitment their business requires. In return for their innovative adoption of events like “Coffee with a Cop” and “Super-Hero Saturday”, along with frequent special interest lectures and local meetings, Cesar and Marbelis have created a powerful neighborhood inclusive niche for their thriving café, known for coffee, pastry, a  panini, dinner or as an oasis from stress.

Cesar and Marbelis are from Venezuela and are accomplished at toggling from Spanish to English seamlessly. Their multi-cultural and work ethic orientation helped them integrate both family AND the relentless hours of work necessary for their small business to succeed and grow. Their language barrier virtually evaporated when their customers saw -and felt- how much they cared about serving them sincerely and cheerfully. As a result, they have scores of regulars, and constant drop-ins, as well.

Every day, they earn their tag-line promise: Best Coffee in Town!

Their hurdles were abundant- They had frustrating language and mixed reporting issues with suppliers. Also, the previous owners had overstated the café’s volume substantially. They also discovered that their prospective business had begun a palpable decline as their negotiations to buy the café were in process. Gradually, their wary customers warmed up, and they adjusted to their sales levels and their inventory address, with their MS SBDC counselor’s help and common sense approach. Their customers and their devoted family of staff gently paved the way to have better, more consistent results.

Cesar and Marbelis credit their counselor, Gary Suddith, by his insisting on planning more realistic volume figures, for their cautiousness and for helping their business survive the first year.

“When we began our small business journey, one of our most useful tour guides was JCJC SBDC counselor, Gary Suddith. He spoke with us personally, addressed our needs to develop a Business Plan and 3-year Financial projection, as well as providing valuable demographics, cafe' industry information and baseline financial planning to aid in our plans. We still reference this important data for our business, 3 years later.  Though we certainly had some interesting surprises starting up, as most ventures do, our guidance from Gary greatly helped us begin and grow. Now, three years later, as we add more menu items, services and more community outreach, we have confidence that USM SBDC Counselor Rita Mitchell is as close as the phone or an email as support.”

The Mississippi Small Business Development Center is an accredited member of America's Small Business Development Centers and is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration through The University of Mississippi. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA or The University of Mississippi. Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities and limited English language proficiency will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance.