Recent Grain Valley High School graduate starting a coffee shop

Bill Althaus
The Examiner USA TODAY NETWORK

A year ago, Joe Pittman didn't know how to spell entrepreneur. 

Now, the 2020 graduate of Grain Valley High School is one. 

Joe Pittman, a 2020 Grain Valley High School graduate, stands on the future site of his Joeshmoes Coffee & Waffles, set to open in early 2022.

Ground has been broken on his new Joeshmoes Coffee & Waffles in the northeast corner of the Olde Town Center Marketplace at Main Street and Eagles Parkway in Grain Valley. 

When asked where the idea originated, he grinned and said, "My name's Joe. Coffee is known as Joe – so it's a Joe-brainer." 

He has carefully mapped out this venture. He got a bank loan and then met with Tony Ward, the son of David Ward of the Ward Development and Investment Company, and pitched his idea. 

"I'm a 20-year-old kid with a dream, and I'm talking to the son of the biggest developer in Grain Valley. What could go wrong?" joked Pittman. 

As it turned out, nothing. 

While Tony was out of town on a job, his father talked about the Wards’ most unlikely new partner. 

"The kid, well, really, he's a young man, came in and had this dream," David Ward said, "and I remembered back when I was a young guy with a dream 31 years ago.” 

"He had it all planned out, made a professional presentation and Tony talked with me and we agreed, absolutely, let's do this." 

Ward chuckled for a minute, and added, "This is the great American success story – a kid from Grain Valley with a dream – and we're going to do all we can to make it a reality." 

The shop is to be approximately 1,200 feet with a drive-through window and inside seating. In addition to coffee, the menu is to include pastries and waffles. 

"We couldn't have a better location," Pittman said as he walked around the site, which is less than a half mile east of Grain Valley High School. 

"I don't know a teacher who doesn't drink coffee, and I'm hoping they will start drinking Joeshmoes coffee. And all my friends drink coffee, and we really don't have a hometown coffee shop in Grain Valley, so I'm thinking this is going to work." 

Like so many 2020 graduates, many of Pittman's hopes and aspirations were wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"I had been the Eagles mascot the past three years, and then COVID hit and we didn't have fans and we didn't have a mascot and I was hoping to get a scholarship to be a mascot in college, and that didn't happen," Pittman said. 

So he wrote and published a book. "YOQO – You Only Quarantine Once," is a daily devotional available through Barnes & Noble. 

"It's about faith, and having the confidence in yourself to do what makes you happy, to follow your dreams," Pittman said. "That's what I did, and now I'm an entrepreneur!" 

Pittman has worked with area coffee crafters to create his own Joeshmoes blend, that will be complemented by specialty coffee and tea drinks. 

"We broke ground Oct. 7, and the hope is to be completed over the next three months or so," Pittman said, looking at the site and shaking his head. "This is really happening, and I can't tell you how excited I am.” 

To follow the progress of Joeshmoes Coffee & Waffles, search for Joeshmoescoffee on Facebook.