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Kava House has been sold to Kurt Stauffer (Rowsters)  and Joel Wabeke (ex-chef of Trillium Haven)

Should be interesting on how they change this up.  Rowster has been higher end coffee, slightly pretentious.  Where Kava has been more pedestrian.

Will Kava become higher end?  What is Joel's involvement in this?  Renovation?  I am interested in seeing what happens.

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"We are adding to the heartbeat of this vibrant neighborhood. Creating that '3rd place', " Well there was already a third place there, that was the center of the neighborhood for over 2 decades.

The recently did some work to the old "smoking" space.  But the whole building needs some work. The Bakery section is a small room at the front of the store. I would also guess there is a nice sized "

From Last Night.  Saw them working this AM.

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I saw this yesterday and was surprised that Kava House sold. My impression only, was that they did pretty well and perhaps they got an offer too good to refuse. I'd like to see Kava House stay different then Rowsters. An update would be nice, and I always liked their pastries at Kava House.

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Since you can't smoke in restaurants and coffee shops anymore, I imagine they'll do away with the partition walls between the old indoor/outdoor space? 

http://mibiz.com/item/23039-rowster-coffee-principal-buying-kava-house

The recently did some work to the old "smoking" space.  But the whole building needs some work. The Bakery section is a small room at the front of the store. I would also guess there is a nice sized "back room" area that could be expanded into.  With more of a focus on food, I think they could do well with creating a more "euro cafe" feel and provide something the area does not have.

I am also think it is a great idea because of the Kingsley building addition of new residents, that should help their customer base, once that is done.

Now if we could just get rid of the post office. That building and land is just prime for something dynamic.

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The place is terribly out of date. I used to ride my bike past there in the mid 90s (wondering why anyone went to a place just to drink coffee), and it looks virtually identical.

The interior certainly needs a new paint job, and I think they should consider enclosing the outside seating area with some sort of removable wall like several sports bars and places like Brewery Vivant have done because space there is pretty tight in the winters when you cant really sit anywhere else.

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The place is terribly out of date. I used to ride my bike past there in the mid 90s (wondering why anyone went to a place just to drink coffee), and it looks virtually identical.

The interior certainly needs a new paint job, and I think they should consider enclosing the outside seating area with some sort of removable wall like several sports bars and places like Brewery Vivant have done because space there is pretty tight in the winters when you cant really sit anywhere else.

When they announced they were being bought, my first thought was "they're still in business?!". I think this was the first place I went to drink "real" coffee, but they didn't change with the times and fell off the list of coffee shops I frequent. It's a good time to try something "new". 

Joe

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Keep in mind, the business did not seem to be struggling.  There were always many people inside and many coming and going.  They have cut the open hours back quite a bit in the last 5 years.  Not longer a late night coffee shop, but that seems to be the trend with many of the shops in the area. Kava has always existed in a post "friends" style coffee shop. They didn't update much, but they didn't need to.  Coffee became less smoke and grunge music and became "art" for yuppies. Kava made me feel like I was in college again.  I will miss it.

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  • 4 months later...
13 hours ago, GR_Urbanist said:

Drove by and noticed what looks like a bunch of insulation stacked up against the inside windows, so it looks like some work is being done.

 

Seems to be the slowest remodel ever, though.

From what I have seen it looks like they have been working maybe one day a week, mostly at nights.  They have seemed to have completed the drop ceiling tear down, but not sure how much further than that.  I think we would be lucky so see it completed by mid summer.

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Well I wish them luck, but from what I'm reading in the article, this is almost sure to initially alienate the former Kava clientele. Even the owners seem a bit defensive on the concept they are putting forward. The starting limited hours plan is definitely going to turn off a lot of people too, and may open the door for a more classic coffeehouse rival to open elsewhere in Eastown if it ends up being permanent.

 

I hope they remember that Kava wasn't a beloved institution just because of where it is.

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Bring back Morning Star.  Rent in Eastown is very high, It is controlled by a small few owners who own some of the major buildings in the area.  The major plus that Kava had was the outside seating and the "porch" that was pleasant because the windows all opened up.  There are no locations like that in the area.  There is room for a coffee shop, but with Sparrows and Roasters close it probably won't be easy.  Common Ground on Fulton has slowly been going downhill.  Most of the Kava people have moved onto Sparrows.  Roasters and Madcap take care of the coffee elite, Starbucks in east takes care of the sweet latte fans and the new kava will be more of a breakfast place than a coffee shop. Eastown has been craving a new breakfast option as can be seen by the lines outside Wolfgangs, Brandywine will not fill the rest of that void.

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  • 4 weeks later...

"We are adding to the heartbeat of this vibrant neighborhood. Creating that '3rd place', "

Well there was already a third place there, that was the center of the neighborhood for over 2 decades. Eastown has been without it for months as this space has sat empty since.

Just saying...

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 4/11/2016 at 11:02 AM, EastownLeo said:

The Early Bird has put up a IndieGoGo to raise $30,000.

I understand fundraising and reward as a way to save cash on loan interest, but I am always uneasy when existing companies do this when adding to their portfolio.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/that-early-bird#/

I would be embarrassed if I started an IndiiGoGo page to get my business going or expand. Or maybe I should. Is that the new thing? lol.

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31 minutes ago, GRDadof3 said:

I would be embarrassed if I started an IndiiGoGo page to get my business going or expand. Or maybe I should. Is that the new thing? lol.

Oh man, don't I know this conversation. As someone who is starting a retail business in Grand Rapids very soon, we have talked tirelessly about how we would not dare use IndieGoGo or any other platform like it to get our start. Yes, we would love nice shot in the arm like $30K...but it just isn't how we want to step our first foot into the community. That said, I can't tell you how often we think "hell, maybe we should, everyone else is."

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From their crowdfunding page:

" Two forces in the local culinary scene have teamed up, creating a community-focused concept of coffee and food. Chef Joel Wabeke and Rowster Coffee have come together to offer a seasonal menu crafted around eclectic flavors that are healthy yet indulgent. "

Huh?

And please dont tell me that they are going to have the seating be long benches that you have to share with other people so you have to "converse" with them.

 

I'm still cringing so hard from that video.

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