Help pours in as Jitters looks to reopen after quake

Sunday, December 2, 2018 - 17:46
  • Quinn Kirby, 3, vacuums a bench at Jitters Coffee Shop in Eagle River on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • People work to clean the inside of Jitters Coffee Shop on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018. The shop — which has been in business since 1994 — suffered water damage and numerous broken items in Friday’s earthquake. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)

Though Friday’s earthquake caused widespread damage in downtown Eagle River, one thing was abundantly clear.

Jitters isn’t going anywhere.

The popular downtown coffee shop that’s home to countless business meetings and bull sessions was hit hard by the quake, as were other tenants in the Eagle River Shopping Center. But on Sunday, a small team of employees, volunteers and friends showed up to help clean up the family owned institution.

“We’ve been having tons of people text and message us if they can help,” said Briana Theis, whose parents, Dennis and Linda, have run the coffee shop since 1994.

Friday’s shaker caused water damage inside and destroyed most of the shop’s edible goods. On Sunday, men, women and children hauled out trash, cleaned walls and repaired damaged ceiling tiles. And it wasn’t just at Jitters — up and down the shopping center, people filed in and out of the half-dozen shops carrying out debris and garbage from the quake.

Theis said people came out of the woodwork looking to help, which she said is a reflection of the Chugiak-Eagle River community as a whole.

“Everybody’s been amazing,” she said.

Theis said the shop’s drive-through coffee stand in the parking lot was already up and running Sunday. She said the family hopes to have the shop back serving up hot coffee within a few days, if not sooner.

“Maybe by Tuesday if we can get everything cleaned up,” she said.

One of the volunteers who showed up to help Sunday was Quinn Kirby, 3, who grabbed a vacuum and worked to clean a small bench near the counter.

Quinn had no comment, but his mom, Caroline, said she just wanted to do whatever she could to help out her neighborhood coffee shop.

“We gotta get Jitters up and running,” she said.

Email Star editor Matt Tunseth at editor@alaskastar.com or call 257-4274.

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