Leaving another hole in the Ghetto

Coffee & Company, the beloved community coffee shop at the corner of Johnson and Division streets, closed its doors for the last time this past Friday. By that night staff had papered the glass windows that had provided one of the best views for people-watching in the Ghetto.

The Coffee & Company on Princess Street will continue to operate and a sign on the Ghetto shop’s window encourages its loyal followers to pay them a visit downtown.

The store’s closure has unfortunately been a long time coming. When Starbucks opened its doors, only steps away on another of the intersection’s corners, there almost seemed to be a silent understanding that it was only a matter of time.

Bizarrely, Coffee & Company chose not to announce the closure. Their insistence on secrecy meant outside sources, including the Journal, weren’t privy to their plans except through grapevine rumours. Management rebuffed all queries regarding the closing—apparently they didn’t want to see the results that a widespread customer and support base could yield, even when plans were finalized.

By choosing not to make their closing public knowledge, Coffee & Company lost at least a few days of booming business as customers would have grabbed their last coffees, teas or lattes from the favourite community stop. Moreover, they may have lost some of their customers altogether—their tight-lipped approach just isolated their customers and discouraged them from following the shop their downtown location.

The closure is an obvious example of corporatization’s nasty effects; Coffee & Company had an admirable leg up on Starbucks in terms of its sustainability records—it made more concerted efforts to be environmentally friendly—and its homey feel. The closure is indicative of our irresponsible buying habits that prioritize consumerism whether we’re conscious of it or not.

It’s a shame Coffee & Company had to shut its doors. And it’s an even bigger shame that, in the shop’s dying days, its management chose to exclude those that had, for so long, kept the shop alive.

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