Thanks To An Outpouring Of Support Over The Weekend, Murray Street Coffee Lives To Brew Another Day.
It looked like the end was nigh for Murray Street Coffee Shop late last week as the shop's owners posted the following message to their business' Facebook page: “Landlord just popped a big, ugly surprise on us. We need to sell a bunch of $50 or $100 coffee cards to stay open. Immediately. Wanna help? If we don't sell enough cards, we'll refund your money…”
In short: Owners Doug and Liz Davis had just found out just the day before that they needed to repay $10,000 in debt to their landlord ASAP or they'd face eviction today.
But then the shop received an overwhelming and, says Doug Davis, a somewhat unexpected outpouring of support from the community. In addition to an online crowd-funding campaign that raised just over that $10,000 goal in just two days, Davis says his shop was filled on both Friday and Saturday with customers making donations and/or purchasing pre-paid coffee cards to show their support.
“The outpouring from the community was a little bit overwhelming to tell the truth,” Davis says. “In a lot of years of business, it's one of the most amazing stories I've ever witnessed, let alone been the center of.”
The day-saving crowd-funding campaign itself was setup by shop regulars Kelly Clemons and Sean Fitzgerald. After seeing the aforementioned Facebook update the night before, the pair suggested setting up a Tilt campaign and even set up the page while sitting in the shop, enjoying their regular Friday morning cup of coffee.
As a result of the campaign's success, Doug says he was able to deliver a cashier's check to the shop's landlord by the original deadline of noon today. And so, for now at least, the fate of Murray Street Coffee seems safe.
“We've been working without a lease and they're going to put a new lease agreement in front of us soon,” Davis says. “It'll be interesting to see what they do in terms of any sort of rent increase.”
In the meantime, Davis says plenty of good has already come from the situation. Not only were Friday and Saturday two of the busiest days in the shop's nine-year history, but a sizable contingent of those dropping by to show their support were first-timers to the shop.
“Hopefully that will carry over,” Davis says. “We were already on sort of the best footing we'd ever been on financially, so hopefully we'll end up with some working capital, an expanded base of business and some improved infrastructure that just makes the place even better than it was before people showed this kind of commitment to it.”
It's possible, though, that this all should've been expected. Those familiar with it have always loved the crap out of this shop.
Still, Davis isn't taking this recent show of support for granted.
“There's an unbelievable amount of good that has come out of this situation,” Davis says, “and far beyond simply paying off this debt. It was certainly an overwhelming response, and an outpouring of goodwill for Liz and I.”
Cover photo by Kathy Tran.