Down under, up north

Although Ruby Hall is more than 6,000 miles away from her native New Zealand, the owner of the recently-opened Java Jitters cafe in Battle Ground says she has a Kiwi accent as strong today as it was 23 years ago when she first came to the U.S.

"They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well, it also takes a whole community to welcome a newcomer," Hall said. "And Battle Ground has definitely adopted me as a member."

Hall became a U.S. citizen in 1994 after years of traveling as a real estate professional pricing hotels and other properties all over North America. In the end, however, Hall said it was the Pacific Northwest that caught her eye and caused her to settle first in Vancouver, then in Battle Ground, where she continued to work in real estate while preparing to open her "English-style" coffee shop.

"I figure I can do both: if I can shove fabulous coffee and delicious food down your throat, I can probably list your house, too," Hall said.

This January she purchased the retail property on Main Street in the Old Town section of Battle Ground. Hall says it was in complete disrepair, so much so that after a few days of power washing the ground she said she unearthed a stone walkway under the debris.

Though Hall opened her store in early March, she is already working to enact her three-part plan, including opening up a downstairs pub in Java Jitters' basement, starting up a Battle Ground art-walk and creating an advertising cooperative of local businesses.

According to Hall, the cooperative will pool together funds in order to purchase advertising space – an idea she says is based on her experience as a participant in Women In Networking, a popular monthly meeting for area professional women.

Hall claims that coffee is one of the few recession-proof businesses – one seconded by Peyton Woodruff, supplier of coffee beans for Java Jitters through his business, Caffe D'arte, and a self-professed "latte artist." "Coffee has, in general, held strong through the ‘so-called' recession," Woodruff said.

Java Jitters will celebrate its official grand opening in late April, according to Hall, who says she plans to give out free coffee and to bring in local bands to celebrate.

Hall hopes to show her customers the same hospitality America has given her, with an open invitation for everyone to come in, enjoy a hot cup of coffee and maybe try some of her New Zealand-style sausage in her adopted hometown.

"Battle Ground is a real slice of America," she said.

Image caption:

 Ruby Hall, owner of Java Jitters café, hopes to bring some of her native New Zealand charm to visitors at her
Main Street Battle Ground location, seen above.

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