The Talented Trio Behind the Design

Posted: September 20, 2013

From sliding garage doors in Wauwatosa to an open view of the bakery at Bay View, each Colectivo cafe has unique features that sets it apart. Or maybe you’ve noticed the gargoyles over Prospect’s door, the skeletal structure over the patio at Humboldt, or the repurposed wooden tables in cafes. Since the beginning, Joe and Janice Niedzialkowski and Jay Richardson have been largely responsible for the signature look that sets Colectivo spaces apart.

9494424933_49d7bdc6b0_bThe story behind the work is 30 years in the making: it all started at the Grand Ave. Mall, when Paul Miller, Colectivo co-founder, met Joe Niedzialkowski, who was designing displays. Paul was floored by Joe’s talent and soon found out that it went beyond retail display to include painting, drawing, sculpting, and even mechanics.

When Alterra was founded, Joe was among the first to collaborate with co-founders Lincoln, Paul, and Ward. The first cafe at Bayshore Mall featured many of Joe’s designs, including a free-standing sculpture of a newspaper man complete with bowler hat and bulldog by his side. “His hand is on a big part of the business…initially a lot of the packaging and merchandising and art,” Paul said.

When Joe married Janice, the company was lucky to enlist her talent as well.

“Hers is a world of color and incredibly subtle tones,” Paul said. She sees “the beauty in wildness, the color in time…as things decay they become more interesting.”

If you’ve noticed the faded colors, the painstakingly worn-looking furniture, or the rustic light fixtures in our cafes, you’ve see Janice’s talent.

9497094582_830acb2acf_mThis design team would not be complete without Jay Richardson, who has been working with Joe on the cafes for the past 16 years. His knowledge of carpentry and mechanics is immense – he designed his house and built it himself out of wood he milled.

The trio’s skills run deeper than simply aesthetic – their work underscores the value Colectivo places on sustainability. The rustic feel of the cafes is due in part to their use of recycled materials. Joe in particular works with raw materials, turning them on their edge and juxtaposing them against the new to create an unpredictable vision.

Colectivo’s partnership with the Niedzialkowskis is much more than a business transaction. Watch our Colectivo on Prospect video to hear Joe tell a personal story about the last time he was up on the Prospect scaffolding. With the change of our name and redesign of our cafe signage and features, the relationship has come full circle.

Paul keeps much of Joe’s art in his office, as awed by his talent today as he was 30 years ago. “His card says ‘juggler and display artist’ but that is so understated for the immense talent that he is,” says Paul.

It is thanks to the vision and hard work of Joe, Janice, and Jay that the Colectivo cafes are what they are today. Add the graphic design work of Kevin Callahan, and we at Colectivo feel truly humbled to have so much creative talent in our midsts. We’re excited to see what new projects are in store and are grateful to have such a special relationship with these artists.


You may also want to read

Historic Milwaukee Spaces & Traces Tickets Available at Colectivo Cafes!

Historic Milwaukee’s Spaces & Traces Tour tickets are available now in all Milwaukee-area Colectivo cafes! 2019 Spaces & Traces – May 11, 2019, 9am – 5pm Tickets will be available for purchase in Milwaukee-area cafes beginning March 18. $25 Historic … Continue reading

Visit Us This Week To Celebrate The Flavors Of Peru!

Colectivo is bringing the flavors of Peru to cafes this week! We have a rich history of sourcing great coffees from the Chirinos region, and this week’s featured coffee, Peru Chirinos Los Balcones, is no exception. Sourced from the co-op … Continue reading

Grab An “Off The Record” In MKE Cafes

We’ve partnered with Milwaukee Record on a new monthly periodical – “Off The Record”. Pick one up at all Milwaukee-area Colectivo locations. The inaugural issue features a print-exclusive story from Milwaukee Record, the beloved American Values Crossword Puzzle, and a … Continue reading

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day With Treats!

Our friends at Troubadour Bakery have whipped up some classic St. Patrick’s Day goodies! Follow the rainbow to a Colectivo cafe starting Saturday, March 16, and enjoy a frosted Shamrock Shortbread Cookie or our Grasshopper Mint Brownie. Cheers! Related

Featured Drink: Windy Ci-Tea

Take a moment away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and enjoy our newest featured drink – the Windy Ci-Tea. This tea latte blends Anthology Black Letterbox Tea, Piccadilly Earl Grey, lavender syrup, and oat milk to create … Continue reading

Spring Drink Tastings!

Join us at Colectivo Coffee for a FREE spring drink sampling event on Saturday, March 2 & March 9, from 10am-1pm. Our lead baristas (aka Lightning Rods) and training department have concocted some creative new seasonal beverages to share! Try … Continue reading

© Colectivo Coffee Roasters, Inc. 2019


WordPress Themes