VALLEY BROOK — The owner of a coffee shop in Valley Brook that unapologetically counts sex offenders, felons and others living on society's fringes as valued customers was given a three-month extension on her business license during a heated town trustee meeting Tuesday evening.
In recent months, residents have become upset about the rising number of homeless men roaming the working-class town, and many of them blame Joe's Addiction for the increased traffic.
Many residents believe the customer base at Joe's Addiction is responsible for increased property thefts and other criminal behavior in Valley Brook.
Coffee shop owner Jamie Zumwalt, who has been publicly defending her business over the past two months, said she doesn't discriminate against anybody who comes into Joe's Addiction, 1806B SE 59.
In addition to coffee, the shop offers its customers ministry-type services, including four weekly group meetings for addicts and alcoholics. Zumwalt and her husband also own a “free store” next to the coffee shop, which gives things away.
Zumwalt, who appeared emotional after the meeting, said she is “extremely happy” with the three-month extension.
“We've been asking for some kind of meeting, some kind of dialogue about what we can do to work with them,” she said of the town's Board of Trustees. “Up until tonight, we had not been able to get that.”
Near the close of the meeting, town Trustee Lewis Neiman suggested that Zumwalt's business license be extended three months while town leaders, residents and Zumwalt meet and discuss the future of Joe's Addiction.
Trustees voted unanimously to extend the business license.
“I'd like to see you run your business through the parameters of your business license,” Nieman said.
For Zumwalt, the trustees' decision and Nieman's comments Tuesday night are encouraging.
“In the next three months, we'll sit down together and try to work this out,” she said. “What was indicated tonight is that we'll be able to stay, long-term, as a business, so I feel good about that.”
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We've been asking for some kind of meeting, some kind of dialogue about what we can do to work with them. Up until tonight, we had not been able to get that.”
Coffee shop owner Jamie Zumwalt,