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Jitterz Java, a Spokane coffee house, was robbed twice in February. Given that track record, the store’s owner has adopted some new preventative measures. She’s letting her baristas pack heat on the job. As reports, “…on Sunday, a man who appeared to be armed ran off after a barista grabbed her gun and called police.” The local 5-0 point out that they’ve gotten to the scene of the crimes quickly in each case. “The police arrived on scene in three minutes on Feb. 18 and 28 and in four minutes on March 16.” Not quickly enough, however.  . . .


The recent string of violence has owner Sara Chapel fed up. “The way I’ve been scheduling the girls is that at least one girl who carries a gun is always on shift,” she said. The women will carry their own personal handguns that they’ve been trained to use.
Chapel has encouraged all of her employees to seek firearms training. 

The police wouldn’t comment on Chapel’s decision to encourage armed baristas, said Spokane Police Department spokeswoman Monique Cotton. “We would encourage anyone in any situation to call us. We have excellent response times…. We are specifically trained to put ourselves between the public and a dangerous situation, so the best thing to do is call police as soon as possible,” Cotton said.


Now that it’s common knowledge that the Jitterz girls are able to defend themselves, it should be interesting to see how often the store is targeted going forward.

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Gun Watch

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  1. Small business owner with a clue.

    Big corporations, not so much–there’s generally a no-guns policy for the employees.

    • Yeah, a couple of years ago I worked in a megastore with a “no guns” policy for employees. It was in the employee handbook, but no signs were posted so the prohibition did not have the force of law.

      I ignored it.

      • A company I once worked for had the same policy. I was the only one who actually handled the money. Going to bank, etc…
        I too totally ignored that rule. My boss had an Airweight in an ankle holster. The office manager had a Colt. .25 in her purse.

        • A small gun is far superior to no gun.

          Seriously, look into the “mouse guns”. Be advised you WILL feel a substantial amount of recoil because they are so light. (Their small size and light weight makes them extremely comfortable to carry!) But the nominal level of discomfort associated with shooting them is truly a pleasure compared to the alternative of facing a violent criminal unarmed.

        • @uncommon_sense

          Well said. I have tried to get by with a store-use off-brand Sharpie in my hand for slightly-less-than-unarmed self-defense. Looks like it’s time to upgrade.

      • Ralph, I don’t know your state or its laws, so this is a general comment inspired by yours, but not directed at yours. Read closely your state’s law on notification. In Texas, you must be notified of the property owner’s gun ban by someone with apparent authority to speak on the owner’s behalf, like a store manager. Another perfectly viable means of communication is an employee handbook you’ve been provided and signed acknowledgement of receiving and understanding.

        Basically, you’ve been informed at that point and should you choose to carry on site, you’re breaking the law. It’s criminal trespassing in Texas. Where the official signs come into play is in providing “effective notification”, which is for the sake of the general public and others whom it’s not feasible to inform individually each time. If your employee has informed you in any other way, even just verbally, the absence of an official sign is no legal defense.

        Again, laws differ between states, but this is a common misunderstanding here in Texas. So it could be in other states, too. Make sure you know what you’re doing always.

        • I’m sorry you’re confused, Tom. I’ll attempt to clarify. Just because there’s no “official sign” posted, banning firearms from a particular place, that doesn’t necessarily mean that firearms are allowed or that you cannot be prosecuted for carrying one.

          I then used Texas as an example of how the law can approach the topic from different angles. Finally, I suggested that one would be wise to understand thoroughly the laws in one’s own state, as similar nuances may exist there and the consequences of ignorance can be severe.

          That he isn’t in Texas is a prompt to do some research, not a cause for feeling comfortable. Clear, now? Have a nice day.

  2. Unless the local SWAT team is standing in line, waiting for their caramel macchiato ventis, then response time from the barista side of the equation is too long. Make my cafe Americano with an extra shot of espresso; save that shot of lead for the bad guys.

    • But the usual arguments against open carry may still apply here – fewer hits on the coffee shop may be planned now, but if one does take place, it could factor in their carrying in advance and be quite nasty. Having two employees openly armed at any time would up the odds in their favor considerably, but the shop seems content with having just one at a time.

      • “…at least one girl who carries a gun is always on shift.” Might be only one. Might not. Take your chances.

      • Lets think that through. Coffee shops don’t take in a lot of cash, at least not anymore than a convenience store or many other types of businesses of the same size. The clerk at any business may be armed but there is no doubt that these employees at this business are armed. You’re determined to rob a business. All else being the same, do you choose the one where you know you’ll face armed resistance or the one where you might not?

        I’m not a huge advocate of open carry but sometimes the voices against it are borderline hysterical.
        In this case open carry is an obvious and powerful deterrent to crime. In a way that concealed carry would not be. What is preferable; bad guy is surprised by concealed carrier and a shooting results or bad guy sees that the people he was contemplating robbing are armed and decides against it?

        I’m going to go with the latter.

  3. I live in Spokane. While we are quite the prudish town, not much you can do about this. It wasn’t that long ago there was a big stink about topless baristas. It was across the street from my shop actually. It got so stupid that they were rerouting school bus routes to prevents kids from getting a glimpse of some breast. The city of Spokane Valley passed an ordinance. No more boobs.

    • “No more boobs”

      I HOPE you mean bare, visible boobs. That would be a high price to pay for a job like that.

    • All those topless coffee chicks moved to the tricities…and put on bikini tops..
      Cant blame them, Spokane get pretty cold in the winter months.

      • Yep. For a short while, at that place across the street from the post office just West of Pines.

    • Spokane sort of reminds me of Salt Lake City. It’s a weird town.

      Still have a lot of family over there.. I don’t get over to the Palouse as often as I would like.

    • I’m a healthy heterosexual man and no prude by any standard, however I would not like my morning Joe served by a topless barista. It sounds like it would be awkward and uncomfortable. Or maybe I am a prude now, I’ll have to consider it.

      Still, I can always pick a different coffee shop, I just wonder who thought it would be an effective marketing plan to have the baristas topless, and if it was in fact effective.

  4. 4 minutes? Does he know how much evil can be done in that amount of time? Why in California there’s a legislator that can fire 18,400 rounds out of an AR by the time they show up.

  5. I believe Spokane has Indy’s former police chief, Frank Straub. If he affects SPD’s morale like he did here, it’s a wonder SPD is responding to any calls..

    • Prefer polymer reinforced and FDE (Coffee/guns/women). Gimme a break, it’s California.

  6. “We would encourage anyone in any situation to call us. We have excellent response times…”

    Excuse me while I puke.

    Let’s hope the concept of armed retail employees catches on.

  7. I bet this business will do better than the one in SC that posted the “douchebag” sign.

  8. I doubt they’ll be robbed again. Most lowlife criminals aren’t looking to get shot. They’ll go to the “gun free zone” shop down the street. Good for them the get it.

  9. That is one hot piece of…

    Revolving metal.

    If you were thinking anything else, then you’ve got a filthy mind.


    As a former retail-slave, I’m 100% in support of those young women. If I’m ever in the position of owning my own business establishment, my employees will be encouraged to carry while on duty. I’d also pay for the training if needed.

  10. Your saying to rely on the police who have failed to be there and cannot be expected to be everywhere? “That’s a bold move Cotton” Police are only expected to respond after the fact, not protect or resolve.

    On an unrelated note I’m surprised no one before me used the phrase “That’s a bold move Cotton”.

  11. Objectively, what are the liability concerns for the shop? Would this affect their insurance rates in any way? I support this idea 1000%, especially in cash-heavy businesses, but I would love to know the real ins and outs of doing so. If I own a shop and take someone down in a legitimate DGU, does my business insurance company freak out and triple my rates, or cancel my policy?

  12. The only thing worse than being shot in the commission of a robbery is to be shot by a girl in the commission of a robbery.

  13. I fear that all the open carry will do is 1) encourage only the more macho, adrenaline-junkie criminals to hit this business, and 2) motivate them to be more prepared when they do hit it, as in coming through the door with weapons already in play; and it will be a rare barista indeed who will be able to draw her pistol, acquire her target, and fire on a gunman who already has her in his sights.

  14. “We are specifically trained to put ourselves between the public and a dangerous situation,”

    Bull. Not only do I not want to rely on the cops, I don’t believe they put themselves in danger whenever they can avoid it. The police are remarkably risk averse, choosing to shoot more often than sense would dictate.

      • or they stand outside an elementary school with a shooter inside for four minutes waiting for backup. Sandy Hook.

    • That remark caught my attention too. They might have some training, but willingness? ability to be on scene while crime is being committed? And don’t forget, they have no duty to protect anyone (Warren v D.C anyone?)

      Yeah, I’m not relying on a cop to save my butt.

  15. [q]We are specifically trained to put ourselves between the public and a dangerous situation[/q] Since when???

  16. Open carry works better in groups. The deterrent is proportional to the size of the armed group.

  17. The gal with the holstered snub has a Charter Arms Lavender Lady .38 special , me thinks she knows how to use it too . If I lived in Spokane I would just go by to get a coffee for the scenic quality that goes with it ! Be prepared and ready. Keep your powder dry.

  18. Large corporations are driven by money. Their lawyers have told them not to have employees with guns on duty. If it made more money sense to have employees carry guns they would. . . . even Google and Facebook.

    Oh sorry, the truth is they don’t give a sh** about their employees, only money.

    I’m an old guy and have never seen or heard of a cop putting himself between the public and danger. On the other hand up in Michigan, there was a mentally deranged guy in a parking lot with a small knife. There must have been 6 or 7 cops. They were a good distance away and opened up with 47 shots, I think they hit him 6 times and killed him. No use in wasting Taser electricity or tear gas or throwing him a McDonalds lunch, just shoot him!!!

    I think it was because he messed up their coffee and donut clatch and they were upset.

    You really need to FEAR the police.

  19. At their best, those “excellent response times” only kick in once a call is made. Are you gonna be the one caught chatting on your cell after the greedy guys with guns bust in? But seriously, what are the cops officially going to say? “We’re glad that these ladies are taking steps to protect themselves since we can’t realistically be there to protect them”? And yes, I know about the Detroit PD chief and the Milwaukee sheriff–obvious exceptions to the rule.

  20. I would rather have the help open carry, than call 911 to have police rush in guns a blazing, and risk collateral damage (me) .

  21. Good for them. A lot of the coffee stands in WA state tend to have a lot of cash on hand and that of course makes them attractive targets for criminals.

    The argument that “police will respond in time” is pretty laughable, because we all know that in event of a real crime, you’re rolling the dice about how fast the po-po will actually show up.

    Though in case of WA state’s infamous bikini/lingerie coffee stands, I’m sure the cops will respond rather quickly… if they aren’t already there, dropping tips. HA!

  22. Damn, I travel for work but never up to their neck of the woods. I would go out of my way to get a cup of Joe from these people if I were in the area though.

  23. “The police wouldn’t comment on Chapel’s decision to encourage armed baristas, said Spokane Police Department spokeswoman Monique Cotton. “We would encourage anyone in any situation to call us. We have excellent response times…. We are specifically trained to put ourselves between the public and a dangerous situation, so the best thing to do is call police as soon as possible,” Cotton said.”

    Yes indeed, grab your cell phone and call the cops when the robber pulls out a gun. He will be very polite and allow you to finish the call before he shoot you, and the police will arrive in time to call the coroner. Wonder if the popo spokeswoman carries a gun?

  24. Police show up to fill out reports and see if there is any one left standing to arrest.
    The government wants us to be dependent on it.
    It’s like holding up your hand in school to ask permission to use the rest room, but now they would have you ask permission to think for your self. Well only if you think correctly.

  25. “The best solution is to call the police right away…” with a response time of 3 minutes, what is the barista supposed to do in the meantime? Serve the perp coffee?

    • Yep, that’s right, Ms Police Spokesperson–stand there and make a call immediately while the thugs are waving their guns/knives/ball bats/ etc. in your face. Just don’t forget to ask for an ambulance–and maybe a coroner.

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