A bright, color-changing LED arrow points people to the north entrance.
A location for coffee and spirits, JR Perk in Post Falls also features a food menu for hungry patrons, a drive-through for people on the go and an evening beer garden for those who want to stick around a while.
"We always talked about starting a small family restaurant," said Sam Johnson, who owns the establishment with son, Eric Thorneycroft. "I love it."
JR Perk Coffeehouse and Lounge opened in April 2017 because of the dream Johnson had to open a coffee shop and serve her community.
"(Eric) knew that I wanted a coffee stand and we had checked on a couple of different ones and a couple that had come up for sale that were out of our price range," she said. "We really just wanted to build one on our own and just run it."
Instead of a coffee hut, Johnson found a location with plenty of space for amenities as well as a full liquor license. Rather than build one, they were able to restore and customize the 1953 building at 761 N. Idaho St. in Post Falls into a more suitable establishment.
“This is what’s so cool; we’ve never had anybody walk through those doors that didn’t love everything about it — the decor, everything," Sam said. "It was a dive. We took it from top to bottom and gutted it and made it something."
JR Perk has cozy couches in a coffeehouse corner, ample room for jam sessions and live music, dart boards, local taps and a welcoming atmosphere, enhanced by the friendly service.
“It had a bar. It used to have a cigarette shop in the middle and a barber shop on the end,” said Chuck Johnson, Sam's husband of 40 years.
"This building has been everything,” Sam added. "It’s been a pawn shop, it’s been a pizza parlor. You name it, it’s been it."
Now the building is in the caring hands of Sam and her family, who are taking JR Perk and making it more than a business. Different charitable functions are frequently held there, from chili cook-offs to benefit the food bank to meet-and-greet events that support local citizens in need.
“Her whole concept of this thing was to have a business not only to support the business, but to support the community," Chuck said. "That is one of the big things we’ve been doing."
JR Perk is named for Sam's late father, JR Jones, whose fedora-wearing silhouette can be seen on the logo.
"He was the smartest, he really was," Sam said. "My parents were everything to me."
Nathan Rogers of NR Consulting has worked with Sam and Eric since December. He said before they took it over, the building was unsightly.
“It was an eyesore,” he said. "Any time we can take these eyesores from the community and create a more healthy and vibrant community experience, the better they're going to be.
"Just what Sam and Eric have done as far as the remodel, a lot of people don’t realize what it was and what they had to do to get it to this point," he said. "That’s incredible, just that in itself, just to have a vision and start with pretty much no help but their own visions. It takes a lot of guts and it takes a lot of tenacity to make that happen."
Sam is indeed tenacious. She has worked herself right into the hospital a few times, most recently in March, but is not one to let anything keep her down.
"She is a miracle," Chuck said.
Sam can't stay away from doing what she loves, and that's taking care of people.
“I’ve done different things all my life,” she said. "Being a care provider is really who I am."
JR Perk is presently for patrons 21 and older, but Sam said they’re working on getting the restriction removed to have a more family-friendly venue.
“That’s really what I want," Sam said. “I’d love to have my grandkids be able to come in here."
The sandwiches, "the-best-sandwiches-you’ve-eaten-in your-life" sandwiches, Sam calls them, include a turkey club, Philly dip, BLT, gyro and a reuben. A one-pound breakfast burrito is also on the menu for those with big appetites.
The building is non-smoking. JR Perk also offers daily drink specials, karaoke, trivia, happy hour, growler fills and kegs to order.
JR Perk is open from 6 a.m. to at least midnight Monday through Thursday, from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday, from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, hours depending on special events.
Info: 208-262-9253, firstname.lastname@example.org or www.facebook.com/jrperkllc