SNEADS FERRY — A Jacksonville native who recently opened a new coffee shop in Sneads Ferry said the purpose of Coffee Haven isn’t just to serve a cup of coffee — she wants to serve a bit of kindness, too.

Jacksonville native Katie Rochelle said she bounced around jobs for a while after graduating from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington before working at Solar Café in Sneads Ferry, where she fell in love with the industry of making and serving coffee.

“I love coffee, first of all,” Rochelle said. “Making it and serving it to other people, it’s like an art.”

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Solar Café closed in late 2019 after the owner decided to move to Atlanta for personal reasons, according to a post on their Facebook page.

Rochelle said she felt inspired to fill the hole left in the community and bought the building, located at 104 Silver Sands Drive. The road was recently renamed from the former Bradshaw Road off N.C. 172.

“Everything just kind of fell into place, as far as the business opportunity to buy the building, and then we just kind of rebranded and remarketed and went from there with it,” Rochelle said.

Five months after purchasing the stand, Coffee Haven held its grand opening on Jan. 4, with help from family and friends, including her boyfriend Jeremy Lee.

Rochelle credits Lee with doing a lot of the heavy lifting and renovation to the building, as well as being a huge support. He also works at the stand with her on the weekends, despite having a full-time job.

“It’s a big undertaking, but she was pretty determined,” Lee said. “I said, ‘Lord, if it's your will, let whatever happens happen.’ It’s pretty much in His hands.”

Rochelle says her biggest goal in business is to serve God through serving coffee, in whatever way she can.

“It’s all because of Him and for Him,” Rochelle said. “We’re trying to serve others through this business because He’s blessed us with this business.”

One way Coffee Haven has already given back was by participating in Operation Warm-Up in downtown Jacksonville, where they provided blessing bags and free coffee to people in need. They also offer free coffee grounds for customers to take for their gardens.

Coffee Haven’s menu includes a variety of drinks — hot and cold coffees and teas — and baked goods from Sweethearts Desserts, a Jacksonville business they’ve partnered with.

“We strongly believe in supporting each other, and supporting other local small businesses,” Rochelle said. “That’s how we all get by, and survive and thrive, is by supporting one another.”

Rochelle’s future plans include possibly expanding to a brick-and-mortar shop in Jacksonville, a mobile coffee shop to take to events and weddings and finding more ways to give back to the area.

“We want to serve people more than just a cup of coffee,” Rochelle said. “We want to be able to serve them kindness, in whatever that is or looks like to other people.”