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The Stylus

Java Junction – coffee with character

By Sarah Killip / Staff Writer

As you sip on your freshly brewed latte, you can’t help but admire the exposed brick, the big storefront window, the sunshine beaming in; it’s cozy. You’re cozy. Nestled amongst other local stores in Brockport’s canal side village, one is sure to stumble upon this nook that resonates like home, a coffee shop, called Java Junction.

Peter Apicella started Java Junction on a shoestring in 1993. 

“I always worked in restaurants, in high school, in college. I started out as a dishwasher and would end up cooking throughout the years,” Apicella said. Opening a restaurant is something I always wanted to do, but when you’re young and have no money, you figure you’ll never be able to do something like that. But I saved up, and decided one year that I would look into opening a small café in Brockport. 

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Java Junction owner Peter Apicella works at his coffee shop. (Photo credit: Sarah Killip)

Java Junction’s original location was a few doors down from 56 Main St, the address it calls home today.  

“When I first opened I just rented a building. It was like $470 a month, real cheap, and I talked the guy down in terms of price. I bought all used tables and chairs and had a friend build the counter for meI leased my cappuccino machine, and I bought my baked goods from somebody. I bought coffee from a coffee roaster in Rochester because I wanted to roast eventually, it was kind of a goal, but just one other thing that you think you’ll never be able to do,” Apicella said. “So then I opened up and just worked all the hours myself for a couple of years. Seven days a week. And just really made no money, but kept on making a little money and just kept doing it and doing it, and built and built.” 

In 1995 Apicella moved locations and bought the “new” building. 

lawyer owned this building and he used to always come into my shop and make jokesoh someday you’re gonna buy my building.’ He didn’t think I took him seriously,” Apicella said. 

Being 200 years old, the building holds an abundance of history. 

“From 1860 to about 1920 they printed the Brockport Democrat newspaper on the third floor of this building,” Apicella said. “There’s a giant 12-and-a-half-foot ceiling loft on the third floor that was gross and filled with junk when I bought the place, so I gutted it and made it into a nice apartment. But in the rafters above I found a bunch of original newspapers, from the 1800’s, so I took them down and made a display in the bathrooms.” 

Over the years Apicella has been able to grow the business. He bakes and cooks all of the food himself, and that dream of roasting his own coffee? He made that happen too. You can actually see the roaster in use while sitting in the café. The inviting, easy going atmosphere brings new customers in each day, and keeps the regulars coming back.  

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Peter Apicella’s ground coffee sits in a filter before it is served to a customer. (Photo credit: Sarah Killip)

“This is only my second time here, but the coffee is great, I like the flavor,” Andrew Cole, a SUNY Brockport junior, said. “The place has a really chill vibe, and I like the newspapers in the bathrooms, the whole wall is just covered.” 

Amanda Catherwood has worked at Java Junction for three years. She cooks, makes drinks and does a little bit of everything.  

“I love being a part of the town and getting to see everybody,” Catherwood said. “It’s a fun, fast paced job, but my favorite part is the atmosphere and getting to know people, especially the regulars.” 

Coffee shops have a way about them. The walls hold a story, to each their own, but so do the people you meet inside. Java Junction is open seven days a week, and can guarantee not only good coffee, but good company as well. 

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