Café for a cause: Opening day for Jenna’s Coffee House

Published: Dec. 2, 2022 at 8:43 AM EST
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JOHNSON, Vt. (WCAX) - Jenna’s Promise in Johnson is dedicated to helping people struggling with addiction. Now, the team has a new coffee house that gives the community -- and those recovering -- a place to be together.

“It gives a safe place to work, to build the confidence and hope that’s needed for recovery. It breaks down the stigma,” said the group’s Greg Tatro.

Jenna’s Coffee House and Jenna’s Promise are run by the Tatro family, named after their daughter who died from substance abuse disorder. Their mission is to help people struggling with addiction get back on their feet.

Community members like Sally May say they are excited about a new place to gather. “I just happened to come in to get coffee and something to eat and meet somebody. There really aren’t many places to locally get together for coffee, you know. I always tend to go toward Chittenden County. So, this is great,” May said.

The $1.2 million project was made possible with grants from the state and community and a partnership with Two Sons Bakehouse. There are living areas upstairs for the three employees in recovery working at the coffee house and there is room for five more.

Krista Chesebro works for Jenna’s Promise and has been in recovery for 20 years. “They think that we are bad people. When I say ‘We,’ I mean me too. I have had the stigma put on myself. We are not junkies. We’re not bad people. We’re sick people trying to get better and trying to live,” Chesebro said. She says the coffee house shows the community that people struggling with addiction can still participate in the workforce.

“I think this is just the right mix of having food and space and just a great atmosphere,” said Caroline Butler of Johnson.

Jenna’s Coffee House is located at 38 Lower Main Street. It’s open Monday to Sunday and the owners are talking about expanding to another location in the distant future.

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