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Penn Valley java hot spot is jumping

Vicky Takahashi talks fast, works fast and rarely sits down on the job, which is appropriate for a person who owns an establishment named Jitters Coffee Café.

This sociable java entrepreneur has them waiting out in the parking lot for the doors to open at 7 a.m. at her café tucked in the back of the Wildwood Business Center on Pleasant Valley Road.

Takahashi and her husband, Michael, who owns Tek-Aide, a computer consultancy just doors away from the café, opened Jitters on Labor Day weekend 2005. Bay Area transplants, from Redwood City, they brought the classic entrepreneurial spirit with them, moving to Lake Wildwood three years ago and basically starting two local businesses from scratch.



Until last year, Vicky Takahashi was commuting to a job in Roseville where she worked as an escrow secretary, continuing the real estate career she began in the Bay Area. Michael made the trip down to Silicon Valley each week to serve his computer clients. After months of that rigorous commuting and raising two young children, the two decided it was time for a change.

“We needed good coffee here and I always wanted to open a fun little shop,” Vicky said.




With no experience in the food trades, she quickly learned it’s a 24/7 business, not for the faint of heart. She’s up at 4 a.m. during the week and getting her baked goods so customers have something to nosh with their French Roast. Takahashi buys goods from Arlene’s Pantry and It Takes the Cake, both in Penn Valley, and Hollywood Sweets in Grass Valley.

She is delighted that the North Bay Coffee Company, based in Sonoma, will deliver to her in Penn Valley.

“The hardest thing is getting deliveries here,” she said. The coffee is quite good and customers go through 60 pounds of it a week. Jitters does all the lattés, smoothies and other confections normally found in a café, but Takahashi herself sticks to the classics. “I drink three cups of brewed coffee a day and none of the fancy stuff.”

After six months of operation, Jitters has begun to collect its group of regulars. There are the construction guys in the early morning who get a big kick out of Jitters’ girlie French motif, black and white toile curtains, bright yellow walls and in the bathroom, a rather bosomy mannequin.

“I ask them if she was nice to them,” laughs Vicky.

Afternoon regulars sit outside in the sun, reading and enjoying the stand of mature trees in the background, a placid scene to balance the yang of the coffee.

“My favorite things are my customers and my neighbors,” Vicky said. “Coming from the Bay Area, where everyone is competitive, it is surprising how this community has really supported us.”

Jitters has met its early financial goals, she notes.

Maybe soon, Vicky Takahashi will be able to sit down, for at least a few minutes, and enjoy some good java.

South Yuba State Park wildflower season is just starting. On Saturdays and Sundays enter at the North Parking Lot at Bridgeport and enjoy wildflower walks, led by docents, beginning at 11 a.m.. For more information, call 432-2546.

Larry & Lena’s Take & Bake Pizza, ERA Cornerstone Realty and Jitters Coffee Café are hosting a Blood Drive 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., March 19, at the Wildwood Business Center, Pleasant Valley Road, Penn Valley. Refreshments will be served. For more information, contact Barry Connick, ERA Cornerstone Realty, at 432-5444.

This column celebrates the people, places and activities that define the Penn Valley, Rough and Ready and Smartville areas of Nevada County. If you have an interesting person or subject to feature in this column, or a newsworthy item, please e-mail jeans@theunion.com


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