GALESBURG — After 23 years of growing at the hands of Mike Bond and Johan Ewalt, Innkeeper’s Fresh Roasted Coffee will change hands at the end of this month.
New owners Ben and Jessica Ketchum are Monmouth College graduates who worked in finance and healthcare before seizing the opportunity to own and operate Innkeeper’s.
“All in all, Innkeeper’s is an incredible place just as it is,” Jessica said. “We don’t want to come in and change much.”
Jessica grew up in Abingdon and worked at Innkeeper’s in high school and college.
“That kind of started my love for the place. I love the customers, I love the people, I love the coffee,” Jessica said.
More:Innkeeper’s Coffee marks 20 years of business
A Springfield native, Ben grew to love Innkeeper’s as well.
“I’ve never been in here when every table isn’t full,” Ben said.
Bond and Ewalt will stay on through the end of the year to thoroughly acquaint the Ketchums to the operation.
“Ben and Jessica are a young couple that will bring a new sparkle and new vitality to Innkeeper’s,” Ewalt said. “Innkeeper’s has always evolved, always changed. Whatever they do, it will be exciting.”
Bond and Ewalt opened Innkeeper’s in the Galesburg Antique Mall in 1998.
In 2003, they were in the process of building a new place for the Seminary Street business when Maytag announced it would leave Galesburg.
“It was a very risky thing,” Bond said. “We already broke ground.”
They forged ahead with the new building, which opened in September of that year.
A couple years later, Butler Manufacturing would leave, too, further altering the economic landscape in Galesburg.
“It was a wild time,” Bond said.
In the new building, Bond said, they really followed customers’ suggestions, evolving to add baked goods, lunch offerings and a drive-through.
Though the term isn’t used as much these days, Bond said Innkeeper’s became a “third place” in Galesburg, serving as a community anchor and a gathering place for friendships and business meetings.
“It’s just an easy place to come and not only feel welcome, but for the person who comes here regularly, this is like their second home,” Bond said.
Ewalt said Innkeeper’s is a place that people from Galesburg are proud of.
“They like to show it off to their families from out of town,” he said.
Bond and Ewalt always planned to retire at 65. Pushing that up a year were health issues, the death of a family member, and the stress and uncertainty of COVID-19.
They said they have no plans of leaving town in their retirement.
“We are planning to stay in Galesburg,” Ewalt said. “And we are threatening to come down and bus tables at lunch.”
For the Ketchums, Innkeeper’s is about community and friendship.
“You’re always seeing people you know,” Jessica said. “It’s a very important part of Galesburg.”