Coffee Shop Brews Rim Country's Local Flavor

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Not only will the owners of Fireside Espresso remember your name, they'll keep it on file.

Owners Rick and Rose Jaskulski opened their coffee store just a little more than two months ago. Since then, their index of frequent shopper cards, along with the lines for their caffeinated treats, continue to grow.

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Rick and Rose Jaskulski take a short break in their new coffee shop, Fireside Espresso. "Part of what we wanted to create was the hometown come-and-visit-us feel," Rose said.

As a convenience to their customers, the Jaskulskis keep an alphabetized box of punchcards next to the cash register.

Instead of rifling around purses and wallets for the card, customers have it right there, Rick said.

"It just makes things easier for folks," he said.

The couple has worked to incorporate as much regional color and personal flair into their shop as possible. Wood from the Willow Fire, heavily varnished and stained a deep brown, is used as counter and table tops.

Paintings by area artists, board games, books and evening performances by local musicians underscore the shop's warm, Rim country attitude.

"Part of what we wanted to create was the hometown come-and-visit-us feel," Rose said.

The mirrors adorning the walls of the shop reflect the beauty of Payson's surrounding forests. The rustic wooden furniture, earth-tone walls and plenty of open space combined with the plush leather couch and the shop's namesake, the fireplace, leaves customers feeling like they just walked into a living room. The store is large enough to seat a big group, but intimate enough in the bright store-front room for a couple to carry on a private conversation.

"I think that's what lends to the comfort of (the store), having so much space," Rick said.

Rose said she has always enjoyed entertaining guests in her home, and the new shop is just an extension of that interest.

"This is the best job in the world because we get to hang out with friends all day," she said.

Customer Nathan Schloesser said he enjoys Fireside Espresso because the owners are so welcoming and friendly.

Schloesser first visited the shop because he has a friend who works there. But after a few visits, Schloesser said, he felt like Jaskulskis were longtime friends.

The coffee shop is also a symbol of the Jaskulskis' new life together. The couple married in July 2004, and after several chance visits to the area, they decided to settle here.

In preparation of their grand opening, the Jaskulskis remodeled their shop through the winter and into early spring, transforming it into something they can call their own.

The Jaskulskis are no strangers to entrepreneurship. Before moving to Payson, Rose owned two coffee shops in Sedona while Rick owned and operated a couple of hair salons in Prescott and Camp Verde for 30 years.

The beauty of entrepreneurship, Rose said, is the ability to represent your values through the business. Rose only purchases shade grown coffee, which is cultivated beneath existing trees to protect forests from clear-cutting.

Fireside Espresso offers drip coffee in a variety of roasts, coffee drinks, smoothies and fresh-baked pastries.

Fireside Espresso is open seven days a week; Monday through Wednesday 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday through Saturday 5:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information call Fireside Espresso at (928) 474-6200.

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