By Christy Riggs
Published in The Burg July 29, 2021
Working for a local newspaper, there are perks. Such as having the opportunity to interview new business owners in The Burg. Enjoy….]
“Hey Honey! Let’s get into the coffee business…do you wanna?” That’s basically how the conversation started between Jessica and Ben Ketchum who will be the new owners of one of Galesburg’s finest places, Innkeeper’s Fresh Roasted Coffee, effective August 1. This comes full circle for Jessica as she worked at Innkeepers while in high school and she loved it then. She introduced Ben to Innkeepers during their college years. “We used to talk about owning a coffee shop back then”, Ben added, “and I was like sure, Ok, thinking it wouldn’t happen!”
Jessica was raised in Abingdon and Ben in Springfield. Both Ben and Jessica are Monmouth College graduates which is where they met. After college, Ben worked in healthcare and Jessica in the financial field. Ben chuckled: “I can save her life and she saves our wallets!” Throughout college, Jessica’s dream to one day own a coffee shop was still in the back her mind. “It was my college dream.” When we heard about Innkeepers being up for sale? It was “like a dream come true!” So they sealed the deal, packed up their lives in Springfield and moved to Galesburg.
Some questions asked:
Will there be any changes immediately? “No. No changes. The menu will remain the same as will the hours. Eventually we will add our own special touches.”
What’s your favorite beverage at Innkeeper’s? Jessica: “a daily cocoacino mocha! I also enjoy plain brewed Tanzania coffee”. Ben: “when we were in college together, Jessica introduced me to Innkeeper’s and their Tanzania coffee. Once I like something? I don’t change it. So it’s just Tanzania coffee for me!”
As a husband and wife team, who will be doing what? “We are still figuring that out! We both want to learn every aspect and from there we will decide who likes what. We will both be there full time.”
Do you think it’ll be difficult at times to work together? Jessica: “We might drive each other nuts sometimes.” Ben: “we do have a basement!” (I loved that line!!) “We also have separate things we do. It does help Jessica is a morning person and I am an afternoon person. Once we are established, maybe we will alter our work schedule times.”
Why do you think Innkeeper’s is so popular? Jessica: “We feel the staff and customers are special, like family. You always see familiar faces, both ways. When Ben and I were there recently, I spoke with a former customer of mine and STILL remembered what they ordered!”
Fun facts: Ben and Jessica have two rescue pets - dog Stella and a cat named Carley. They both enjoy golfing. When asked who is a better golfer? The answer is “Ben” and he has a serious passion for golf. Jessica has a brother named Daniel and Ben, a sister Danielle. Another fun fact? Jessica’s grandparents and my parents are best of friends. Additionally, my husband and I and Jessica’s parents are lifelong friends.
As the interview concluded, I asked if there was anything they’d like to add. The Ketchums would like to thank their parents, Tom and Teresa Irons, and Mike and Janet Ketchum for believing in them and for their support!
Best wishes to The Ketchums on their new journey! We will see you regularly. For the record? I love iced green tea with a hint of mint and VERY weak coffee. Can you fix me up?