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MooJo's Ice Cream and Coffee opens in Hallmark

Pictured are (from left) MooJo’s employee Cortney Mundth, MooJo’s/Hallmark manager LaDonna Desjarding and owner Debbie Morales. Jordan Willi / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 2
MooJo’s is located in the New Richmond Hallmark store owned by Debbie and Joe Morales. The ice cream and coffee shop has its own entrance on the outside of the store, as well as an entrance through the Hallmark store. Jordan Willi / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 2

Many people driving on Knowles Avenue have probably seen a new sign featuring a cow and a cup of coffee that has popped up between Heidi's Hallmark and Papa Murphy's. That would be the new coffee and ice cream shop, MooJo's Coffee and Ice Cream, which opened in May by Hallmark owners Debbie and Joe Morales.

"We added ice cream to our offerings and then expanded the seating area. We knew we had to do that for the coffee shop anyway, but we had talked about adding the ice cream, which was an idea our daughter had come up with," Joe said. "So we started to do research and went up to a resort in Hayward to check out a place there. We also looked into what it would take to add ice cream here and to improve our seating and our kitchen like we did."

Not only is the seating area expanded, but the coffee and ice cream shop also has a new entrance all its own, as well as a passthrough from the Hallmark store into the coffee shop.

"There are multiple food locations out here, and other than Culver's custards, the dessert concept hasn't really be done much out here. And when we talked with the Culver's people, they said that our ice cream isn't the same as what they offer, so they didn't have a problem with us adding ice cream," Joe said. "We felt like it was a real good fit, especially with the schools back behind us. It will give them a place to come and sit and relax for a while with their friends."

In order to make room for the new seating area and the revamped kitchen and ordering area, Debbie and Joe stole several square feet from the retail Hallmark space.

"Although we stole some space from the store, we really didn't lessen our inventory for Hallmark. We moved the cash register around to open up the middle of the store for merchandising," Joe said. "We wanted to make sure that we didn't minimize our Hallmark store in any way. That is why we have a passthrough from MooJo's to Hallmark and vice versa."

One of the things the couple is their partnership with Wisconsin-based companies. MooJo's sells Cedar Crest Ice Cream as well as Door County Coffee and Tea products.

"We started to think about the fact that we are right on the Wisconsin-Minnesota border and we thought we wanted to keep it Wisconsin-based products. Cedar Crest is a very old company in Wisconsin and all they make is ice cream. The owner came out here and looked at the area and said it would be a no brainer for us to add ice cream to the shop," Joe said. "He agreed that coffee and ice cream was a good blend.

"And we had already switched out coffee from a Minnesota-based company that did our roasting to Door County Coffee, which is another Wisconsin-based company. We did that because they quality is so high and they only purchase the beans that are top quality. We figured the Wisconsin connection and the quality, as well as their willingness to work with us on how to blend and brew their coffee made them the right choice."

The shop is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, which Debbie and Joe both think has been part of the reason for their initial success since opening in May.

"We were only open until about 4 p.m. with our coffee before because there wasn't a need for it to be open later than that," Debbie said. "But now that they know we are open with our ice cream later into the night, they come and get their ice cream and have it with a cup of coffee as well."

Along with keeping their menu offerings Wisconsin-based, the couple has included their family members in their new endeavor as well.

"We want this to be a family thing. We think of it as family and a lot of our treats are named after our grandkids," Joe said. "We enjoy including our family with everybody else's family when they come in and order one of the treats named after our grandkids."

The couple is working on getting all of their grandkids' names added to the menu as fun treats, but they still have a few more to go in order to use all five names, Debbie said.

In addition to adding WiFi and baked goods to the old coffee shop's offerings, MooJo's also has upgraded signage on the front of the store.

"We still feel like just a small fraction of people know what they are getting into when they walk in here," Joe said. "We have over 20 flavors available and I've tried four or five of them; there isn't a bad one in the bunch. We are thinking we will add shakes and sundaes soon. We are also considering making an ice cream sandwich made out of Best Maid cookies, which is out of River Falls."

For those curious as to how the couple came up with the logo and name for the ice cream and coffee shop, Debbie said that Joe came up with the logo and the name of the store by combining "moo," which stands for the shop's ice cream offerings, and "joe," which stands for both Joe's name and the coffee the shop offers.

For more information on MooJo's Coffee and Ice Cream, visit the shop's Facebook page.

Jordan Willi
Jordan Willi is a reporter for the New Richmond News. Previously, he worked as a sports reporter at the Worthington Daily Globe in Worthington, Minnesota. He also interned at the Hudson Star Observer for two summers and contributed to the Bison Illustrated sports magazine at North Dakota State University.
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