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ALMOND BLOSSOM TOWNS HANGOUT Ripon Caf draws students, retirees for conversation
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Ripon Caf owner Lori Knight takes a moment to chat with Hector Oliva after bringing him his drink.


209 Living

The Ripon Café – formerly known as Jake’s Coffee Shop – in the Schemper’s Shopping Center at the corner of Main Street and Wilma Avenue is a favorite “hangout” for young and old who often make use of its Wi-Fi connection.

Bicycle riders are often seen parked in front of the shop for a break in their route as they ride through the Ripon community.  It’s not for just the young with its Wi-Fi with retired folk like Richard Durham who long ago retired as principal at East Union High School and his wife Ernie make it a regular part of their day about 10 every morning.

The Durhams draw other retirees from Manteca Unified like Howard Holtsman and John Fultz who retired out of the district office a number of years ago.  The couple has their own special cups that are kept behind the counter that are there for them every morning.

And,  almost every day,  their lifelong friend Josie Franzia joins them for coffee and conversation.

Chatting Friday morning, Durham told of attending the recent 50th anniversary of his former high school in Manteca where he was given the opportunity to speak before the celebrating alumni.  Chuckling, he recalled telling them when he headed up the school it was actually before many of them were even born.

Shortly before noon students from Ripon High School and Ripon Christian High head for the various restaurants in the community with a number of them focused on the Ripon Café.

Married in 1949 in Lebanon, Oregon, the Durhams met at Oregon State University 66 years ago and dated for two years before they were married.  

Lori Knight said she bought the business from Jake Parks – now a Ripon city councilman – three years ago this November.  She said 70 percent of her customers come into her shop with their lap tops and either work on school assignments or just use the internet for pleasure.  

Another regular every morning is Hector Oliva who manages a nearby pizza parlor and enjoys the opportunity to get away with his lap top and a cold drink before going to work.

In addition to her specialty coffee drink, she offers Portuguese Bean Soup and linguica in addition to offering Portuguese cheeses.

The store is open from 6 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.

For those coming off Highway 99 it is an easy exit into the downtown where they will find the coffee shop at the end of the old historic business district.


To contact Glenn Kahl, email