Pony's reins handed over

There's a new barrista in town, folks, and her name is Judy Blanchard.

The Carson City native and resident of Chambers Field is now the proud owner of Pony Espresso on Tillman Lane. Previous owners Gary and Karen Moss formally hand the reins over to Blanchard and her husband Don after escrow closes sometime within the next two weeks.

On Monday, from 6-10 a.m., everyone is invited to a "Farewell, Meet and Greet" in honor of the transition. The Moss' will be there to reminisce and bid farewell while Judy looks forward to getting to know customers.

"I think she's just the perfect fit," said Gary. "She wants to take something good and make it better. That's brought a lot of confidence into what is happening and we want to give her every chance for success."

Judy Blanchard brings an impressive resume to her new venture. Active in almost all aspects of the food and retail business since the age of 14, she's done everything from bussing and waiting tables to merchandising food markets.

About a year ago, she heard the Pony Espresso was for sale. She assumed it had already been purchased until she read a recent newspaper column.

Blanchard said her friends and family recognized the opportunity as a natural fit for her talents and encouraged her to go for it. Her husband, daughter Heather and sister Nancy, all plan to help with the business wherever they can. Her son, Jeremy Blanchard is active in the Air Force and recently married. He and his wife, Sarit offer moral support.

Blanchard is eager to maintain the family-like atmosphere.

"The ambiance in here is great," she says. "You can tell people feel so comfortable when they walk in here and we want to keep it that way."

In addition, Blanchard hopes to keep the existing staff.

"If they leave, it's not because I want them to," she said with a laugh. "They're a really great team."

The current core menu will remain. Blanchard's vision is to incorporate a small lunch menu and soft serve yogurt with a topping bar. She's looking for feedback from employees and customers as to what they'd like to see offered and is organizing a questionnaire so people can make their thoughts and suggestions known.

Blanchard plans to expand the retail items in the store, as well. Gift baskets will be available year round, and provide a fun and unique option for birthdays, anniversaries and other celebrations.

Wireless Internet access is also on the horizon. Blanchard recognizes the popularity and importance of this level of communication and wants to offer it to her customers.

Blanchard said the Moss' have been "So wonderful and so helpful. They've been behind me 110 percent."

So if you thought the Pony was closed, it's not. Swing on in for a cup of Joe and one of their famous baked treats. Judy Blanchard is sure to greet you at the counter with a smile.

Pony Espresso can be reached at 265-1667.

n Amy Roby can be reached by e-mail at RanchosRoundup@hotmail.com


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