May 13, 2024
This Issues Topics:
2024 • Business Connections • Centralia • JJ's ToGo • May
The remodel interior of JJ's in Centralia

Photo by Emily Fitzgerald

By Emily Fitzgerald
For the C-C Chamber of Commerce

When Jessica Britton’s sister-in-law asked her to meal prep lunches for her out of her tiny Chehalis apartment in November 2021, Britton didn’t imagine that fulfilling the simple request would lead her to start a business.

 And it might not have, if not for a timely late-night epiphany. “I don’t have any other explanation besides, like, the Lord woke me up, and I just had the JJs logo in my head and I knew what I wanted to do,” Britton said.

 Originally from California, Britton had fond memories of her late husband buying $7 burritos for lunch from a Latina woman driving her van to different local mechanics shops every day. “When I woke up that night, I knew I wanted to do that but like, times 10,” Britton said. “I’m not going to sell you a $7 burrito. We’re going to do a full-fledged meal for a different price.”

 JJs To Go started with Britton taking to-go meal orders out of her 10 foot galley kitchen in her apartment. “My first day selling lunches, I just cold-called (and) I walked into businesses,” Britton recalled.

With Jessica and her sister-in-law Devin Britton as co-owners, JJ’s ToGo has seen success over the last 2 1/2 years operating out of Jessica’s apartment, averaging over 100 lunch orders a day by the end of March 2024. 

 In January 2024, the Brittons learned that recent changes to the license JJs had been operating under meant that they could no longer base the business out of Jessica’s apartment. 

 “We started praying,” Jessica said. “We knew that there was something coming, we just didn’t know what.” The Brittons looked at 12 possible locations before settling on purchasing a food cart, despite it not feeling like the right fit. 

 The morning Jessica was set to drive to Bend to purchase the food truck, she received a Facebook message from Dawn Merchant.

 “She asked me ‘Do you know who I am?’ And I’m like, ‘No?’” Jessica recalled. 

 With just 30 minutes before she had to leave to go pick up the food truck, Jessica called Merchant, who she then learned was the owner of Dawn’s Delectables & Sandwich Shoppe in downtown Centralia. 

 The Brittons ultimately canceled their reservation on the food truck and met Merchant on Jan. 15. 

 “In meeting with and talking to Jessica and her team over the past few months, we are confident that JJ’s ToGo will continue to provide wonderful lunch options for our downtown customers and community,” Merchant said,” Merchant said in a February news release announcing the closure of Dawn’s Delectables after nearly 11 years in business.

In her meeting with the Brittons, Merchant went through several options for passing her downtown location off to JJs To Go.

 “Just from literally the get-go, there was nothing but peace about it. It’s been the most seamless transaction and switch-over of anything that we’ve ever dealt with,” Jessica said. 

 The Brittons officially got the keys from Merchant on April 1 and officially opened with a ribbon cutting on April 22. 

 “It’s going to make Tower Avenue bigger and better,” Jessica said of JJs’s opening its brick-and-mortar. “It’ll set the tone to start kind of revamping and livening up this street.”

For information on business hours and other updates, visit php?id=100079273550401.



Jessica and Devin Britton smile for a photo inside JJ's in Centralia