The New Times reports that the Willow House is closing and apparently there is a live music farewell bash tonight.

http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/bella/2007/10/farewell_willow_house.php

I just got word that the Willow House, the popular McDowell coffeehouse hangout, will be closing on Sunday night, following a farewell bash with live music performances organized by DJentrification.

Then this was posted in the comments by Randall Denton:

I am the manager at Willow House and I just wanted to clear up a few things:

First of all, we aren’t closing, we are moving (most likely to 17th ave and Van Buren).

Second, the reason we are moving is because we just can’t afford the rent of this building anymore. We were faced with either moving or closing for good. We understand this building needs drastic renovation, but Paymen (the owner of the Willow House Building, NOT the owner of the Willow House Coffee Shop Business) is unwilling to put even a penny into this building, while he continues to raise our rent year after year. We want to stay here and we want to fix up the building so it looks nice and clean, but we’ve already invested over $20,000 over the past five year alone on top of rent. We just can’t afford to continue putting our own money into this place just so it doesn’t fall apart. It needs drastic work and we feel it is not our responsibility to provide all of the funds for such work. It is also our impression that Paymen is ready to sell this property and has made us an offer we couldn’t possibly accept with the intent of forcing us to relocate.

Third, say what you will about our barristas, clients, artists, or any other aspect of our shop, the fact is Phoenix loves the Willow House. We’re the longest running coffee shop in Phoenix, we’ve won tons of awards from various phoenix publications, and we have continued to increase our business despite the opening of both a similar deli (Zoe’s) and a corporate coffee shop (Starbuck’s) a block away from us.

Lastly, although moving is a really sad consequence of the gentrification of downtown Phoenix, we look forward to the change of location because all the possibilities it opens up. The new building has all the hook ups for a coffee roaster, so we’re talking right now about acquiring one of those. We are going to be getting ceramic for here cups. We’re talking about expanding our lunch menu and doing breakfast food now as well. We’re even talking about trying a trial run for staying open 24 hours after we get situated. Concerning us and our customers, I’d like to think that change is not all bad.

Arizona Coffee

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16 comments

  1. While I’ll be entirely sad to see you guys moving, I’m at least comforted that you’re not closing, which is what I’d heard. I can’t quite walk there from work every morning anymore for a delicious breakfast treat, and I’ll miss the bathroom that is no longer a playground, but I’m sure more lovely graffiti will find its way onto the bathroom walls at your new location. Good luck with the move.

  2. Beth

    what coffee do you use? is it from a local coffee roaster in town? please say yes…..i am so tired of “local” shops that use out of state coffee.

  3. andrewkfromaz

    Change is NOT all bad! If you go 24 hours, I’ll drive from anywhere! Good luck in your new location, I’m a huge fan of businesses locating in unproven, “edgy” areas of town! I think you can do great.

  4. Bummer that you have to move – hooray that you’re able to move! And as with a previous poster, I’ll drive from anywhere for the 24-hour coffee shop that’s not a Denny’s!!

  5. Margaret

    I am an artist at the willow house but received no notification of its closing. Who do I contact about where my artwork is and the status of my art space in the new location.

  6. Nikki Nice

    I just wanted to say good luck with your new location.
    I have always been a big fan of what the Willow House
    represents. A home away from home. Isn’t that what a
    coffeehouse is supposed to be? Others can try, but you
    guys always had it together for the visitors to relax and
    enjoy. I look forward to visiting your new location.

  7. jeff

    Glad to see that particular building getting a business that WILL succeed. It has been a homeless camp off and on over the years and should now add to area rather than detract, It should help the whole area. curious, do you now own that building?

  8. Amber

    i will miss the Willow House very much, but am very glad you are not closing for good. I practically live there, it is a great place to study and get away. i enjoy the art, people and great coffee you provide to the public. i hope you do have the new Willow House be open 24 hours!! i am a college student and having that available would be so wonderful!!! Thanks for staying open!

  9. Tom

    WILLOW HOUSE IS OPEN at their new location. I just learned this little fact today, though it has been for about a week and a half (as of this writing). Not every little thing is up and going yet (had to use cash, that should soon change), but they have opened. I’m thinking the more people who know, the better for them, so spread word.

  10. Tom

    WILLOW HOUSE IS OPEN at their new location. I just learned this little fact today, though it has been for about a week and a half (as of this writing). Not every little thing is up and going yet (had to use cash, that should soon change), but they have opened. I’m thinking the more people who know, the better for them, so spread word.

    1722 West Van Buren St. by the way. Parking is in the rear off of the nearest side street. The neon “Open” sign is in one of the back windows.

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  12. Kevin

    Just wanted to respond to the poster who inquired about the Willow House roaster – we do use a local roaster – Echo Espresso. They have nearly 20 years of Phx roasting experience (about as long as the Willow House has been around :-), and the original owner, husband and wife, learned to roast and prepare espresso in Italy, while living there. Our beans are usually still warm from the roaster when they arrive – so there is no question of freshness, and their roasts are consistently excellent.

    We appreciate all the interest in our shop, and we are up and fully running at the new location – 17th ave and Van Buren. The atmosphere is very similar to our previous location, so please come by for a visit!!
    Kevin

  13. I got the same card today. Are we going to have two competing Willo(w) Houses — one at the original location in Willo and the other down by the capitol? Is “Willo House” in quotation marks just a placeholder name for a new business that will occupy the 3rd Ave & McDowell site? Note the difference in spelling. The Willow House originated in the Willo neighborhood but spells its name like the tree. It’s now down by the capitol. The place I received the card for today spells its name like the Willo neighborhood.

  14. joe shmoe

    Its great that you’re finding a new location and blah blah blah and i’m glad all of these people support you and I mostly like the coffee house but when you say things like “Third, say what you will about our barristas, clients, artists, or any other aspect of our shop, the fact is Phoenix loves the Willow House. We’re the longest running coffee shop in Phoenix, we’ve won tons of awards from various phoenix publications, and we have continued to increase our business despite the opening of both a similar deli (Zoe’s) and a corporate coffee shop (Starbuck’s) a block away from us” without a couple of criticisms, firstly you do have some employees that are dicks. Most of your employees are cool, but maybe its that ” we win awards and phoenix loves us” attitude that will get people not coming to your coffee house and preferring your competition. Thing is, the reason people have been going to your place is because there isn’t better competition and I’m sure besides the people on this page, many people are going to say “the willowhouse just doesn’t have the same feel anymore” because they have a new first experience with a dick head elitist.

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