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Jocar

Four Friends coffeehouse

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According to this Mlive article Four Friends is going to close over a dispute with its landlord. Four Friends has been there for 14 years. Sad news to see they are closing :(

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Sad news, I was hoping there would be mention of them trying to find a new location to move to. Like maybe the old ice cream shop down the street that has been empty for almost two years?

I was surprised that being in business for 14 years makes them one of the oldest in GR.

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I think Olive Express also had a dispute with their (same?) landlord?

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We like it down there and want to expand. We didn't want something coming next door that might be a conflict for us.

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Wow, I'm very disappointed to hear this. That was our favorite place to hang out in that area.

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I think Olive Express also had a dispute with their (same?) landlord?

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Great quote from someone who put a hot dog store next to...hmmm, what is it that The Dog Pit sells? I guess competition isn't always good.

I'll be very sorry to see them go. They are one of the few places downtown that sells reasonably-priced, non-junk food, and with a smile too :(

I guess that leaves "It's All Greek To Me" (used to be "The Press Box") on Monroe opposite The Plaza. Reasonable, tasty and friendly service.

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I head to Johnny's Lunch instead of crossing the river to Burger King.

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Yup; Sam R. mentioned that he was wanting to negotiate a lower rent.

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While there are always two sides to the story in a retail divorce with plenty of blame to spread around both sides, I will say this:

In general, there is a complete lack of imagination by many building owners downtown as well as the leasing agents they employ to negotiate these leases. The lease rates DT are ridiculously high given the vacancy rate even in the prime areas. IMO they would do well to reduce lease rates in hopes of spurring local entrepreneurship downtown instead of squatting on empty storefronts praying for some national retailer to fill it...even if it takes 3-10 years to happen...IF ever.

It's sad that a pioneering and successful local business essentially got booted out for a chain. This burger chain is essentially going into the coffee business to provide essentially the same product that Four Friends was in an effort to keep out another burger joint. :wacko:

I doubt this chain has much passion for serving coffee...I for one doubt I'll feel compelled to go there. I was extremely loyal to Four Friends and appreciated the good service and local ownership.

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While there are always two sides to the story in a retail divorce with plenty of blame to spread around both sides, I will say this:

In general, there is a complete lack of imagination by many building owners downtown as well as the leasing agents they employ to negotiate these leases. The lease rates DT are ridiculously high given the vacancy rate even in the prime areas. IMO they would do well to reduce lease rates in hopes of spurring local entrepreneurship downtown instead of squatting on empty storefronts praying for some national retailer to fill it...even if it takes 3-10 years to happen...IF ever.

It's sad that a pioneering and successful local business essentially got booted out for a chain. This burger chain is going into the coffee business to provide the same product that Four Friends was in an effort to keep out another burger joint. :wacko:

I doubt this chain has much passion for serving coffee...I for one doubt I'll feel compelled to go there. I was extremely loyal to Four Friends and appreciated the good service and local ownership.

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While there are always two sides to the story in a retail divorce with plenty of blame to spread around both sides, I will say this:

In general, there is a complete lack of imagination by many building owners downtown as well as the leasing agents they employ to negotiate these leases. The lease rates DT are ridiculously high given the vacancy rate even in the prime areas. IMO they would do well to reduce lease rates in hopes of spurring local entrepreneurship downtown instead of squatting on empty storefronts praying for some national retailer to fill it...even if it takes 3-10 years to happen...IF ever.

It's sad that a pioneering and successful local business essentially got booted out for a chain. This burger chain is essentially going into the coffee business to provide essentially the same product that Four Friends was in an effort to keep out another burger joint. :wacko:

I doubt this chain has much passion for serving coffee...I for one doubt I'll feel compelled to go there. I was extremely loyal to Four Friends and appreciated the good service and local ownership.

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A little bird told me that the JL owners are from Detroit.

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A little bird told me that the JL owners are from Detroit.

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Well, it sucks to lose a locally owned business that's well liked. But, at least they're not putting in a Starbucks.

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Are you sure [they're not putting in a Starbucks]?

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There's a Starbucks perhaps 50 steps away, facing Monroe Center (and the Biggby's).

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I'm sure Biggby and Starbucks didn't help their business either.

I don't know where I stand on this. Playing devils advocate here, if I had a tenant who had been in the location for 14 years, I don't know if I'd renegotiate (a presumed) lower lease either. While downtown retail suffers, I don't think this location will sit long.

I do agree though that some landlords sit on their butts waiting for the top dollar, when it isn't there. The Two Choppers building seems like a good example. Great job on the exterior, now let's get a vibrant business in there. No rental income has got to hurt more than less rental income...

Joe

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I kind of agree with Joe. While we hate to lose a great local tenant like Four Friends, the landlord does own the building to make money. If they do not have the ability to pay the market rent for that space than it makes sense for the landlord to find a tenant that can. From my recollection this retail space has always done a pretty good job at staying filled up. Being right across from Rosa has to help.

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... From my recollection this retail space has always done a pretty good job at staying filled up. Being right across from Rosa has to help.

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