After closing Coffee at the Point
in late July, owner Ryan Cobbins has launched a GoFundMe
campaign with the hope of raising over $56,000 to reopen his spot at 710 East 26th Avenue in Five Points.
Says Cobbins, "I've had so many people in my ear: 'Where are we going to meet now that Coffee at the Point is closed?' And so I think back to all the good things that have happened out of that coffee shop."
When he closed the 3,000-square-foot Coffee at the Point, Cobbins cited staffing issues, rising business costs and a lawsuit filed by former business partner Matthew Burkett that he says has cost around $10,000 in attorney's fees so far.
Burkett is the investor and developer behind the FlyFisher Group
, which has bought up properties and invested in businesses, including Coffee at the Point, throughout Five Points, Denver's historic Black neighborhood. Burkett has sued a handful of Five Points businesses besides Coffee at the Point, mainly over alleged contract violations. Business owners have since gone public with their criticisms of Burkett and assert that he's been hurting, not helping, the neighborhood.
"All of a sudden, a couple days ago, I got a message from Matthew that he wanted to meet Monday. Come next Tuesday, I'll have a little better idea of where things are," Cobbins says, adding that he's hoping for an "amicable resolution" to the dispute.
"I think where our neighborhood is at right now is regardless of whatever things Matthew did, it's really time to turn the page, turn the corner. I'd rather focus on what we can do in the future. There's a lot of opportunity in Five Points," Cobbins says.
Ryan Cobbins hopes to reopen Coffee at the Point.
Coffee at the Point
The GoFundMe, which went live on September 21, has already raised more than $8,000 toward the requested goal of $56,052 goal. According to Cobbins, the donations will go toward overdue rent, labor expenses, inventory, repair and maintenance, cleaning expenses and resuming contracts with vendors. He says he hopes to reopen the coffee shop by the end of October; back in July, he said he was targeting a reopening in mid-September.
Cobbins began writing a business plan for Coffee at the Point in February 2010, ultimately opening his spot that November. "Here's this Black guy, and there's not a whole lot of Black folks in coffee, that did not know a thing about coffee, and in nine months, eight months, opened up," he recalls.
Talking about Coffee at the Point, Cobbins gets nostalgic. "I'm reminded of the graduation party that the husband requested because his wife spent about a year and a half to two years doing her dissertation," he says. "I'm thinking about the folks who had their engagement party at Coffee at the Point because he met her for the first time in the back living room area over a cup of coffee."
He's hopeful that Coffee at the Point can soon resume that role in the community and be an anchor business of Five Points for years to come.
"I'd love it to remain a place where people can go to get things done, where people can go to study," he says. "I prefer that over it turning into another bar or another place or space where people can't advance their own careers."