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