- Jenna's Coffee House
Two Sons Bakehouse and the nonprofit Jenna's Promise have partnered to open a café at 38 Main Street in Johnson by the end of October. The business will employ women in recovery from substance-use disorder, some of whom will live in the nonprofit's sober housing facility above the café.
Open daily from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., the café will offer baked goods such as bagels, croissants and cookies; sandwiches such as falafel or turkey, bacon and avocado on sourdough bread; and coffee and espresso drinks made with beans from Jenna's Promise Roasting, another of the nonprofit's workforce development ventures, also in Johnson.
The whole building is called Jenna's Coffee House, but the café will be a third location of Two Sons Bakehouse. Baker-owner Bill Hoag launched the bakery in Jeffersonville in July 2020 and has since added a Hyde Park location.
A Johnson resident, Hoag was immediately interested in the opportunity. "Helping people is something I've always wanted to do," he said.
- Greg and Amy Tatro in the new café at Jenna's Coffee House in Johnson
Jenna's Promise was founded by the family of Jenna Tatro, who died from an overdose in 2019. "She had made a promise to her mom, just the week before, that she was going to stick it out in sober living," explained Amy Tatro, Jenna's sister-in-law and one of the nonprofit's cofounders. "[Jenna] and her mother were going to work really hard to keep people in recovery ... The idea was to create safe housing and safe workforce training."
The nonprofit collaborates with North Central Vermont Recovery Center to provide support services to women in its two housing facilities and three workforce development programs. Its original job training project, Promising Goods, resells surplus goods and appliances.
"Life skills atrophy when you're actively using [drugs]," Tatro said. "Having a job or reason to get up every day, building that self-confidence ... that's what keeps you in recovery."
Johnson needed another destination for quality food and drink, Tatro said. Beyond that, she believes the café is "a really important step for people to create bonds and community. You see that at cafés, because you have your regulars. You get to know people."