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Mercer alumnus startup to replace Jittery Joe’s as Mercer Village’s cultural hub

A cup of coffee from Jittery Joe's. Photo provided by Jittery Joe's.

A cup of coffee from Jittery Joe's. Photo provided by Jittery Joe's.

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Jittery Joe’s in Mercer Village announced it would be closing its doors July 29. The coffee shop will reopen in at the end of August as Z Beans Coffee, under the management of recent Mercer graduate Shane Buerster.

“The employees with Jittery Joe’s have all been offered jobs with Z Beans,” Buerster said. “However, we will be making renovations to the shop, which includes furniture from Mercer’s own Andrew Eck and his company, Georgia Artisan.”

The previous owner, Howard Collins, was ready to sell to someone new.

“I’m not a spring chicken anymore,” Collins said in an interview with the Telegraph. “I’m over 75, so I just decided to turn it over to some younger Mercerians.”

Z Beans started with a Mercer on Mission trip to Ecuador the summer of 2016. There, Buerster’s class helped determine whether growing coffee beans would be a viable alternative to gold mining in El Oro.

After returning home, Buerster kept in contact with their tour guide.   

“(He) suggested I start a coffee business and begin importing Ecuadorian coffee,” Buerster wrote on the Z Beans Coffee website. “Through what I learned while on Mercer on Mission: Ecuador, I have been able to work with… the local coffee farmers to create a way to economically support the families of these impoverished Ecuadorian people.”

Z Beans Coffee will also be introducing Nitro Coffee, a drink patented by another Mercer alumnus startup, Phoenix Coffee Roasters. Buerster plans to keep the store open later, closing at 9 p.m. instead of  6 p.m.

Buerster has the Mercer Innovation Center to thank for Z Beans’ newest acquisition.

“Without the support of the Mercer Innovation Center, the connections and growth would not have been possible,” Buerster said.

Before acquiring Jittery Joe’s, Z Beans Coffee was sold exclusively online. Buerster worked on the supply chain during his junior year of college and launched the website September of 2017.   

Although it’s soon to be replaced by another coffee shop, the news of Jittery Joe’s closing riled up the Mercer community. Their Facebook announcement had over 160 comments and 100 shares within days of its publication.

“My favorite studying spot on Mercer’s campus,” Elizabeth Riggins wrote. “So many fond memories of writing there with a chai latte and a cinnamon roll.”

It wasn’t just current Mercer students reaching out. The decade Jittery Joe’s spent in Mercer Village meant something to a lot of alumni.  

“This was my favorite job I have ever had. I met so many amazing people and always had a good day after working and chatting with everyone. I’m so sad y’all are closing, I always loved coming back to Macon and stopping by to see Jit Joes,” Caleb Morton wrote.

 

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Mercer alumnus startup to replace Jittery Joe’s as Mercer Village’s cultural hub