Java Dock owner moves on after 21 years in Port

Proprietor of city’s oldest coffeehouse decides to try new pursuits in North Carolina but will keep downtown business open

CHAD AUSTIN (right), owner of the Java Dock coffeehouse, is moving out of state this fall but will keep the downtown Port Washington business open with assistant manager Sara McManus handling daily operations. Photo by Sam Arendt
Ozaukee Press staff

Java Dock owner Chad Austin will be moving out of the state in a couple of months, but he isn’t planning on giving up the business he’s had for the past several years.

Austin, who has been running the longest-operating coffee shop in Port Washington for 21 years at 116 W. Grand Ave., said he will be moving to Asheville, N.C., in September because his wife Allison has accepted a new job opportunity there as a human resources director.

“We’re very excited about the move. It’s a terrific opportunity for Allison and her career. It’s a place we always saw ourselves ending up at some point, but it just happened sooner than expected,” he said. “There’s definitely some sadness because I won’t be in the café every day.”

In the meantime, Austin is passing on the day-to-day operational duties to his assistant manager Sara McManus, while he will remain owner.

“We’re not ready to walk away from the business and sell,” Austin said. “We want to retain ownership because we still have ties to the community and have family and friends that live here. This is still our home.”

Austin, who has lived in Port Washington for 14 years, said he has a number of customers he considers to be friends. Not seeing them every day will be the hardest part of the transition, he said.

“We really don’t want to sever ties with Java Dock and Port Washington. While we’re very excited about the new opportunity, there’s a little sadness,” he said.

“We love the community and wanted to become involved when we came here, and thought running a coffee shop would be a great opportunity to do that.”  

Austin said he didn’t have any experience in the service industry when he took over Java Dock, but he always had a passion for a good cup of coffee.

Austin said he isn’t sure what his next step will be in North Carolina, but he will consider opening another coffee shop if the conditions are right.

“Once we get down there, we’ll see what the market looks like,” he said. “We’ve talked about potentially starting another shop down there. We want to see what all the different options are in the area.”

While he will miss overseeing the daily duties and socializing with customers, Austin said he plans to visit Port Washington frequently because of family.

“We’ll be back often,” he said. “Port Washington is a wonderful community with great people.”



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