By Sarah Tarr
MACON — There is now a new place on the College Hill Corridor to beat the chill. Jittery Joe’s Coffee, an Athens-based roaster and coffeehouse, opened up its first Macon location in a newly restored historic building owned by Mercer University.
The coffee shop joined another college-friendly business, Ingleside Pizza, in the redeveloped retail district adjacent to the Mercer campus. Mercer Village, where both are housed, is an historic neighborhood commercial center that was previously under-utilized but has been transformed by the new businesses and is one of the anchor commercial areas along the College Hill Corridor.
Ben and Kim Collins of Alpharetta are the franchisees for the Mercer Village Jittery Joe’s. Kim Collins, who attended Mercer Law School, said the University has been very supportive of it and the shop has received a warm welcome from both students and the community.
“The response from the community and the students has been great,” Collins said. “It’s a great little neighborhood with great potential, and we appreciate what the College Hill Corridor Commission is doing to help it grow.”
The Mercer Village Jittery Joe’s opened in November and serves hot coffee, espresso, frozen fruit drinks and frozen blended espresso drinks. It also serves breakfast until 11 a.m. daily. The shop’s hours to professors and students - open early for professors heading to morning classes and late for students who are studying. Collins said the shop will be open 24 hours a day for the first three days of fall finals week, Dec. 8-10.
Jittery Joe’s roasts its own coffee in Athens and delivers it fresh each week to each store. The custom-roasting means that the company offers a “Bear Blend” unique to the Mercer location. “The package has a picture of a bear drinking coffee with a silhouette of the campus in the background,” Collins said.
The shop is even becoming a part of the local music scene, Collins said, featuring local acts on Friday nights.
“That has really helped us to get immediately connected with the community,” Collins said. “Live music just made sense to us, and it brings in students and the community.”
Jittery Joe’s is the latest student-friendly business to locate in the area, following a student-led effort to build a community around the campus, which eventually grew into the College Hill Corridor Commission. The Commission’s goal is to create a physical, cultural and social path to connect Mercer and downtown. In an effort to achieve that goal, the Commission is promoting “college town cool,” locally owned, unique tenants that invite both students and neighborhood residents to eat, shop, relax and interact.
The College Hill Corridor Commission was co-created by the city of Macon and Mercer. It has received grants from the James S. and John L. Knight Foundation and the Community Foundation of Central Georgia to develop a master plan for Mercer Village. Future ideas include new infill buildings, roundabouts, student housing, bookstores, porches and possibly a market.
The next business to open in Mercer Village will be Francar’s Buffalo Wings. Renovations are under way, and the restaurant is expected to open in early 2009.
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