Jones Coffee Roasters will open March 1 or sooner in the former Buster’s Ice Cream & Coffee Stop at the South Pasadena Gold Line station. The proprietor is Chuck Jones, longtime coffee entrepreneur and wholesaler, public figure and South Pasadena resident.
This will be his third retail store. One Jones Coffee Roasters coffeehouse is located at 693 South Raymond in a warehouse-type space. Coffee beans are roasted there, as well. Another is The Next Chapter, the coffee shop in Vroman’s Bookstore on Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena.
A South Pasadena landmark, Buster’s closed in 2016 after 30 years in business. Three sisters from the well-known Richards family — Colette Richards, Renée Richards and Monica Barry —managed the shop. Their mother is retired businesswoman Clara Richards. She operated Family Fair, a store selling candy and collectibles. Their deceased father was revered former mayor and civic leader Amedee O. “Dick” Richards, Jr. The City Council chambers at City Hall bears his name.
The sisters sold the business and leased the building in 2016 to Karen Klemens, owner of Mother Moo Creamery in Sierra Madre. In November 2018, Klemens notified customers of Moo on Mission that she planned to close the shop. She wanted to focus on her family and her flagship store, she said by email.
When Buster’s first opened in 1986, only Fosselman’s ice cream and fountain drinks were sold. Coffee was offered starting in 1990.
“Chuck Jones was one of our coffee-bean suppliers,” Colette Richards said.
The Jones family has been in the business for generations. The coffee comes from the Asturias-Jones farm in Guatemala started by two female ancestors in the mid-1870s. His mother, Mireya Jones, is from there. The company is recognized for its commitment to the environment and the welfare of its workers, according to its website.
Renée Richards, one of the former Buster’s three operators, said in an interview that Jones Coffee Roasters is a good fit for South Pasadena.
“They’re good to the community and good to their employees,” she said. “It is family owned and operated, too, like us.”
Jones Coffee Roasters will start as soon as staff can be trained. To begin, Jones said, the store will open only in the mornings.
“In the first month,” he said, “we will open from 6:30 a.m. until 10:30 or 11 a.m.”
Food will be served, as well.
“We will also offer grab-and-go sandwiches and salads from Hope Café & Catering,” Jones said, “a really great group in Pasadena.”
“Pastries will be available from Cake Monkey,” he added.
Jones plans to expand the menu at a later time.
“I’m in discussions with local South Pasadena chefs,” he said, “about evolving our food and pastry program in the future.”
He also is bringing back Buster’s traditional ice cream.
“We’re going to have Fosselman’s ice cream by the summer,” he said. “We are keeping it really simple by doing only scoops and shakes.”
Coffee prices will match those in his other locations, he said. Ice cream pricing has not yet been set.
The shop will not be renovated, Jones said.
“I’m going to try and preserve it as much as possible,” he said. In fact, he said he wants to bring back the outside benches that were part of the old Buster’s. “We’ve got two out of three,” he said. “I think I’ll have someone build a third one so they all match.”
Moreover, Jones said he wants to be an integral part of the community.
“We’re going to put a piano out front like we do at Vroman’s,” he said, adding, “I’ll have a cover made for it. Musicians can play when they want.” Local artists will be able to display their work, as is the case at his other locations.
Jones Coffee Roasters wants to provide environment for people to connect. Thus, he said, Wi-Fi will not be provided. “We want to encourage people to unplug and spend time with one another or read a book or a newspaper,” he said.
The company’s logo, featuring two chairs, symbolizes its focus on community building. Its tag line is “Jones Coffee Roasters—where coffee is far more than a cup of coffee.”
Jones said he is excited about opening his new store in South Pasadena. He also said he welcomes suggestions regarding his plans for art, food or music. He can be contacted at Chuck@jonescoffee.com.