Espresso Royale will not be renewing its Main Street location lease for next year, although the coffee shop will remain open until August.
Having opened its premier location in Ann Arbor on State Street in 1988, Espresso Royale now has five stores throughout the city. Yet, as time has gone on, competition among coffeeshops has only grown — Sweetwaters, Starbucks and Roos Roast all have shops near the Main Street location — and rent has increased.
LSA junior Meaghan Wheat, who works at the Main Street store, said she enjoys working there because of the customers — mainly Ann Arbor residents — who offer a unique perspective on life in the city.
“I really love working at the Espresso on Main because there are so many regulars and ‘townies’ that give it a really home-y vibe,” she said. “It’s interesting to be an undergrad whose activities are mostly on campus but being able to travel to main street and work in a whole different side of Ann Arbor.”
Wheat also said it saddens her to see these same customers question why the store is closing.
“I’m sad that it’s closing, because I love working there, and there are a decent amount of patrons who ask why and how it’s closing,” she said. “There are a lot of people who have made the store part of their routine and life who have said they’ll miss that staple of Main Street.”
High rent on Main Street is not a new problem — in 2013, Espresso Royale president and founder Marcus Goller told the Ann Arbor News the company relocated corporate offices from South Main Street downtown to a warehouse in Whitmore Lake in order to save money.
“We really liked our office on Main Street, but it was more money than we needed to spend,” he said. “You do what you have to do to make the business work.
Kinesiology junior Kayla Keane said she enjoyed her experience at the Espresso Royale on Main because she felt that the atmosphere was comfortable.
“It was the only nice one where I wasn’t freakishly cold or felt like I was sitting in a dungeon,” she said.
Keane elaborated that she thinks it is unwise to close this location.
“I’m really sad,” she said. “I’m guessing it’s because they get less business not being in the hub of student action, but I feel like since the one location that felt clean and was well lit shut down, that they should do some renovations to upgrade at least one of the other locations. I would definitely spend more time at Espresso, therefore buy more coffee, if their Central Campus locations looked like the downtown one.”