ROCK FALLS – “Your dream starts here” – the sign in the window of J&M Memories is more than just a sweet sentiment, it’s Gustavo Medrano and Nikaela Rivera’s business plan.
That plan has served the couple well, not only helping them turn an empty building into their own party goods store and bakery, but honoring Rivera’s late father.
Rivera had long dreamed about running a bakery, just like her dad, Guadalupe Rivera, did when he owned La Superior bakery in downtown Rock Falls during the 1990s. Guadalupe retired from the business and died in 2015, but his daughter’s dream finally came true when Rivera followed in her father’s footsteps – right into the same building where he had his bakery, at 107 W. Second St.
The couple’s original plan, though, wasn’t for a bakery. When Medrano, 28, and Rivera, 32, leased the building, they didn’t have a firm plan in hand.
"We didn't know what we were going to do," Medrano said. "We just wanted the store."
The two soon landed on the idea of a party goods store, but something changed Medrano’s mind when he was cleaning up the building and came across the old kitchen. It didn't have any appliances, so Medrano talked to the building's owner about making some modifications to the shop.
"I worked out a deal with the building owner to build a kitchen to surprise Nikaela" he said.
With the modifications done and a name chosen – the J and M in the name stands for the couple’s children: Joel and Mikaela – the two were ready for business. The shop opened on Valentine's Day.
Today, J&M offers party goods for all occasions and all ages, including customized pinatas, themed decorations for parties – bachelorette, baby showers, gender-reveal and more – and 100-plus different balloons in various shapes and sizes. And if the party needs something sweet, the bakery takes custom cake orders.
J&M also serves up cinnamon rolls, long johns, donuts, turnovers and Mexican concha bread and empanadas, all baked fresh each morning.
Sweet treats and swag for your soiree, the couple’s shop has got you covered, and they’ll make sure their Memories serve you well.
107 W. Second St., Rock Falls
Hours: 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday; 7 to 1 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday.
Online: Find J&M Memories on Facebook