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A list of Michigan’s top 10 coffee shops was released today, and Checker Records earned sixth place.

Checker Records qualified for the competition after being named Jackson area’s best coffee shop in an online poll of MLive readers in February — beating out other local favorites like Hillsdale’s Jilly Beans and the Jackson Coffee Company in Jackson, Michigan (finished 8th in Michigan).

“It’s very humbling to know that our customers love us so much,” Robin Spiteri said, who co-owns Checker Records with her husband, John Spiteri.

Robin Spiteri first heard about the competition from a friend, and got Checker Records nominated as one of the best coffee shops in the Jackson area. Once nominated, Robin Spiteri advertised the MLive poll on Checker Records’ Facebook page. The shop won by 68 votes.

Frequent Checker Records customers, like senior Jeff Meyers, expressed their support for the store by voting in the competition.

“They told me about the poll while I was there because I go everyday,” Meyers said. “They asked me if I voted and I asked what they were talking about, so they showed me the website where I obviously voted.”

Since being named the best coffee shop in the area, Robin Spiteri says Checker Records has received a lot of community support.

“It’s been fun and brought a lot of people to our shop,” John Spiteri said.

MLive entertainment writer John Gonzalez, who is visiting and writing about all of the contenders, and news reporter Benjamin Raven visited Checker Records on Feb. 26. They tasted the coffee and saw how the overall atmosphere compared to the other 22 coffee shops. The day was especially meaningful for John and Robin Spiteri because it was also their 33rd wedding anniversary.

“Walk into Checker Records and KISS is playing on the loudspeaker and there’s people sitting around everywhere looking at vinyl records,” Raven said. “Calling it unique would be an understatement.”

Raven said he “couldn’t begin to compare” Checker Records’ combination of music and coffee to any other shop in the area.

“It was exactly the kind of thing we were looking for,” Raven said. “A lot of people were confused, thinking we were looking for the best coffee, but we were looking for the best coffee shop. We were all really blown away by everything.”

Yesterday, Checker Records’ Salted Caramel Mocha was named among MLive’s top 22 speciality drinks not to miss. Today, Checker Records hopes to make MLive’s top 10 best coffee shops.

“I’m thinking that they’re going to finish in our top 10,” Raven said. “Good coffee, fun owners, supportive clientele, they’re actively involved in the community. I really hope they get in the top five or the top 10, I’m really pulling for them.”

Whatever today’s outcome is, Robin Spiteri still believes Checker Records is the best.

“If we don’t win, it’s OK,” Robin Spiteri said. “It’s just one person’s opinion and we’re still Hillsdale’s best coffee shop.”

  • Congrats. Glad to know we’re in good company. I haven’t been to your place but I hear good things about it. I never get to Hillsdale. Again congrats from the Jackson Coffee Co. Brian