When Debbie Williamson and her husband, Tony, opened locally-owned and operated Jitters Coffee on West Lake Houston Parkway 10 years ago, they may not have anticipated the rapid proliferation of Starbucks and other chain coffee shops. Still, they continue to survive, and thrive. One of the reasons may be due to the reasonable $1.35, 12-ounce cup of coffee they serve at the counter or through the drive-up window. "We have nine different kinds of coffee every day until noon: Costa Rican, Columbian, Texas Breakfast Blend, French Roast, and two decaf a Costa Rican Decaf and Texas Pecan Decaf and we have three flavored coffees which change by the day," said Williamson. The original Jitters opened in Kingwood 18 years ago. "In addition to that location, there were kiosks in Kroger supermarkets around town, at locations in Kingwood, Atascocita, The Woodlands and on Buffalo Speedway," said Williamson. All the other locations have since closed. "We found the kiosks didn't do that well if we were not there on site [due to employee theft]," said Williamson. Marnesha Moten, who has worked at Jitters since 2009, says she loves working at Jitters. "I love my customers and I love the people I work with. Debbie is a great boss, very understanding. When you have an understanding boss, it makes you feel more comfortable. I'm a jokester, so I like to joke with my customers. We have a lot of regulars, at least 60, who come in every day. For the majority, I know what they drink," said Moten. We have customers that don't even specify their drink, they just say Bob' or Scott'," said Williamson. Jitters is designed to accommodate, and encourages group meetings. There is one crew of older gentlemen, the ladies call the "old farts," who are in residence at Jitters many mornings. Some of the men are former military. "Frank was in Vietnam, Bob was in the Army, a few of them have Purple Hearts. They have been friends for a long time," said Moten. "Other groups like book clubs, church groups and mom groups meet here too. We have a playroom for kids with toys and books. I set this up with two areas, one for the kids to play in and the other for the moms to talk. We also have two patios for the same reason," said Williamson. Jitters has a surprisingly varied menu. "I like to say we can make any drink you want that doesn't have alcohol in it," said Williamson. They offer many types of coffee and tea drinks, smoothies, soda, hot chocolate, lemonade and several drinks involving soft ice cream. They also offer a variety of pastries, including scones, kolaches, donuts, breakfast sandwiches and cookies. For those interested in something more substantial, they sell corn dogs and nachos. One of their most popular drinks is the Shiver; ice cream with espresso. Jitters is open Monday through Saturday 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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