Coffee shop has the fix for 50 shades of Seattle gray

SEATTLE -- A hot cup of coffee can kickstart even a miserable morning in the Northwest, but can it keep you perky during darker days ahead?

Jennifer Hicks is about to spend her first winter in Washington after recently moving here from Arizona -- the land of eternal sunshine.

"I hear the sun doesn't come out again until June," she said. Hicks takes supplements to make up for what Seattle's skies don't deliver.

"All over the supplement vitamin D thing," Hicks said.

Monday, Hicks received a free dose of vitamin D with her cup of coffee. Hotwire Online Coffeehouse in West Seattle started serving up sunshine year 'round from its computer counter. Owner Lora Swift hooked up full spectrum lights that simulate sunlight to help customers battle Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Those 50 shades of gray can take a toll on people in the Puget Sound region, but Seattleite Mary Decker sips her coffee as the light box's blue rays shine on her face.

"I have gotten really depressed by January or February. It's pretty bad," said Decker. "Sometimes it just seems like it's dark all day long."

Heather Fernandez brought her baby Jamie and mom to Hotwire. Jamie turns 1-year-old Tuesday and has been taking vitamin D supplements since he was a newborn. His mom takes them too.

"I take supplements -- I'm originally from Southern California so I never had this problem before," she said.

Her son's ear infection may have been causing his cries but the light therapy caught his attention.

"A lot of new moms have recommended that to me to use to get over the hump of having a crying baby during the cold months," said Fernandez.

Helios was considered the Greek God of the Sun and Swift said she got the idea for a helios bar after seeing one at a night club in Portland. She thinks this might be a first for Seattle.

"With Daylight Savings ending, I knew how dark it was going to get during the winter," Swift said. "So I started researching helio therapy and I thought what a great way to add a little bit of extra love and happiness here at Hotwire."

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