She Provides a Place to Slow Down

One of my hopes for this blog is that it can shed some light on the members of this community that do awesome things. There are people all over the Lehigh Valley that inspire others, work hard, lead progress, and contribute to the sense of community in this area. Through a series of interviews with some of these individuals, I hope to both share their thoughts and insights with my readers and learn something myself about what others think it means to be From Here Now.
I didn’t have to think twice about my first interviewee: Emily Hoffert. Emily has been my best friend since freshman year of high school and is the manager of Jumbars, a great local eatery owned by her family (just voted the best breakfast in Bethlehem on patch.com!). She has inspired me more and more on an almost daily basis with her ambition, dedication and achievement. Emily is an active member of the Downtown Bethlehem Association, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Bethlehem Food Co-Op. She was recognized last year as one of the Top 20 Under 40 in the Eastern PA Business Journal. Additionally, she is a talented potter, lifetime member of Girl Scouts USA, Beatles fan, devoted older sister to Ben and Harry, and loving partner to Jenn. I am proud to have a woman like Emily in my hometown.
Emily Hoffert

Emily Hoffert with some Jumbars nibbles. (Photo by The Moment Photography)

When did you move to the Lehigh Valley? Do you remember your first impressions?
I moved to the Valley from Montpelier, VT in 1996 when I was 10 years old. It was a hard transition for me at that age. I missed Vermont winters and the snow as a kid, but I’ve grown out of that and am now a typical grumpy adult who realizes the inconveniences that come with snow and ice 😛
What do you love about the Lehigh Valley?
I love music and I love that we have a plethora of venues and festivals where I have seen a lot of great acts, from Rosemary Clooney and Tony Bennet to Ani Difranco or Dar Williams to bands like Girly Man or Small Potatoes (they’re worth Googling!).
What don’t you love about the Lehigh Valley?
The public transportation leaves a lot to be desired.
What are the best places to hang out in the area?
The Wise Bean has been my favorite coffee shop since it opened 7 years ago. I love walking there on a beautiful day, chatting it up with Joan (the owner) or going in with my laptop to catch up on emails. The new Arts Quest Center has been fun this year and I have seen some great concerts, independent films and I liked their farmer’s market too. Godfrey Daniels is another great place to hear some great musicians and bands play.
What is the most beautiful sight you have seen in the LV?
Burnside Plantation, Monocacy Park, Sand Island, Jacobsburg Park, and Bethlehem Steel are all special places in the LV (or very nearby).
How do you see your current role as a member of the community?
My role in the community goes hand in hand with Jumbars. Part of our philosophy at Jumbars is slowing down from today’s fast paced go-go-go society. We provide a venue where people are able to sit back and relax, escape from their hectic and wired lives and enjoy good company or a good book while savoring a wholesome meal made fresh from scratch just for you!
How does Jumbars fit into the community?
I view Jumbars as an oasis or watering hole where friends, co-workers and family members can meet and share good conversation and relax over a good meal.
What are your favorite parts of running a restaurant in this town?
I love being an active member of my community. I love that Jumbars is small enough that I have the ability to build meaningful relationships with my customers and that I get to be a part of their lives.
What is your favorite menu item at Jumbars?
I have to pick? Our Grilled Salmon Salad or Mary’s Salad are two of my favorites on a regular basis, but when I want to indulge I’d go for Jumbars’ SOS or an Elvis Waffle (an annual January Special we make upon request all year round).
You were selected as one of the Top Twenty Under Forty in the Eastern PA Business Journal. To what do you credit that level of success?
I was humbled and honored and very surprised to receive this award. I just do my very best each and every day. Marketing is one of my favorite aspects of my job and watching Jumbars grow exponentially as a direct result of that has been very rewarding.
What is your biggest hope for the future of the LV?
I feel that the culture in the LV has been changing and evolving to be more community-oriented and I am excited to see it grow and continue to move forward. In the last couple of years there have been a lot of great community-based events created and cultivated, especially in Bethlehem. Tunes at Twilight, Harvest Fest, VegFest and ArtWalks are all examples of events that bring the community together. I am a proud part of the Bethlehem Food Coop initiative and I feel it would be a great addition to the already great Greater Lehigh Valley.
What does it mean to you to be From Here Now?
While moving from VT was difficult as a kid and I wanted to move back there for a long time, now I’m looking forward to settling down with my partner, Jenn, and building our life together here in the Lehigh Valley. I also hope Jumbars will be a successful part of our lives – my family’s and the community’s – for many years to come!
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