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Crosslake couple has the 'Jitterz' - Ice cream, coffee shop opens in former Chocolate Ox location

Patrons enjoy ice cream at Jitterz, which recently opened in the former location of the Chocolate Ox in Crosslake Town Square. Theresa Bourke / Echo Journal1 / 4
Catharine and Jim Funk opened Jitterz, a novelty store in Crosslake Town Square that has candy, ice cream, desserts, coffee and retro toys. Theresa Bourke / Echo Journal2 / 4
Jitterz, a novelty store in the former location of the Chocolate Ox in Crosslake Town Square that has candy, ice cream, desserts, coffee and retro toys. Theresa Bourke / Echo Journal3 / 4
Rosa Ti and Ella Ki Olivetti, of South Carolina; and James, Patrick and Kinzie Wirtjes, of Iowa, show off their ice cream-covered faces outside Jitterz in Crosslake Town Square. Theresa Bourke / Echo Journal4 / 4

The Funks are at it again.

Known for embarking on various business endeavors in town, Crosslake's Jim and Catharine Funk have yet another project on their hands. Much to the community's delight, the dynamic duo filled the vacancy in Crosslake Town Square when the Chocolate Ox closed last year.

Jitterz opened at the end of June and offers ice cream, candy, coffee, specialty chocolates, homemade desserts and retro toys. But perhaps the most unique offering is Belgian waffles topped with whipped cream and a choice of ice cream or seasonal fruit.

The freshly made waffles have been a hit, Catharine said, along with the various desserts offered, like the churro sundae, unicorn shake and German chocolate dessert. With rock candy, whipped cream and a sprinkled doughnut, the unicorn dessert has been a hit with kids, while parents can indulge in something a little more sophisticated, such as a lemon tart, brownie raspberry dessert or cup of coffee.

"We wanted to bring every generation together," Catharine said, noting she didn't want the shop to be too kid- or adult-friendly. "So 'Jitterz' could be drinking too much coffee down to eating too much sugar."

Kids have an opportunity to work that sugar off though, as Hula-Hoops sit outside the store available for use. They get a lot of use on Saturday nights during the summer concert series, and Jim said they hold Hula-Hoop contests on Big Fun Tuesdays as well.

Along with Jitterz, the Funks also own Encompassing Beauty and Crosslake Yoga Pilates and Boutique. They previously ran Crosslake Coffee, so they're no strangers to the business world. But the sweets store holds a special place in Jim's heart.

"I've always wanted a candy shop," he said. "When this became available, we knew this would be a good fit. ... Catharine did so much work just trying to get it licensed and everything."

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"I've always wanted a candy shop." - Jim Funk

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And that hard work definitely paid off.

"It's more fun than I could have anticipated," Catharine said. "It is amazing how many kids come in and how many people stay in town square with it being back here. There's so much energy."

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"It's more fun than I could have anticipated." - Catharine Funk

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With Jitterz being as successful has it has so far, Catharine said they hope to expand in the future by adding more candy and offering cooking and baking demonstrations this fall.

"We're going to find different people in the community that want to share their knowledge about their specialty," she said.

Sweets and caffeine aren't the only business the Funks are in with Jitterz. By hiring teenagers to staff the store, they're developing a sort of mentorship program. The kids learn how to balance books, share tips, stock items, clean up and essentially how to run a business.

"The kids seem to really enjoy it," Catharine said. "I never knew I would love working so much with these young kids. ... I couldn't get any luckier on all the kids working here. And I can't say that enough."

Eventually Catharine wants to grow her mentoring into a year-round program with the school.

"They'll come in, they'll learn how to run a business," she said. "That's my long-term goal."

With the new townhomes and senior living facility planned for town square, the Funks believe their newest business endeavor will continue to be a success.

But if not, who's to say something new won't be right around the corner?

"We don't sit still; we keep moving," Jim said. "If you sit still, you're not going to grow."