Park Ave Spin Caffe closed

This morning on my walk to work I noticed the FOR RENT sign in the front window of Spin Caffe on Park Ave. I looks like Spin has closed down operations on Park Ave, though no official notice is posted. I know there are several other Spin Caffe locations in this Rochester-based mini-chain. I also know that the Spin was locally owned by a couple who live in Victor NY. I have met them and spoken to them on occasion in the Park Ave location.

After two days of being unexpectedly closed, I can’t say as this was a major surprise. I had wondered if this was in the works. Retail is a hard business. And coffee is a low-cost item. Particularly in this economy, I could see that people are cutting back on $4 latte coffees. However, I am saddened to see this happen nonetheless. Having a coffee shop located at the end of our block was a MAJOR selling point for us moving back to Rochester. And I bought coffee in Spin every morning on my walk to my business on Somerton St. Additionally, at lunch, the scene inside Spin was always lively and friendly. This is a serious loss to my walkable urban existence.

21 Responses

  1. Michael Brown February 9, 2011 at 2:23 pm #

    Hi Adam,

    I was also heartbroken to see Spin go–and I can’t imagine a better business for that location and for our neighborhood than the coffee shop. Spin wasn’t just any coffee shop, however. It had an amazing tone.

    Here is what I wrote this morning to some fellow Spin customers about the place:

    I was saddened to pass by a shuttered Spin Caffe just now and to observe a “FOR RENT” sign in its window. Down through the years, I know that we have all worked, held meetings, and forged friendships at Spin.

    A diverse community grew up around the shop, one that included professors and students, entrepreneurs and the unemployed, ministers and ministered to. Spin was a rare place. Not only could you sit there for hours to work, meet colleagues, or gaze at the falling snow through the steam from your coffee, but you could also strike up conversations with strangers who become acquaintances and acquaintances who become friends. There are few sites left in American culture where these sorts of interactions take place. Few sites that people can walk to. Few sites that are locally owned and operated. Few sites that anchor urban neighborhoods and serve people from different walks of life.

    I have sometimes described Spin as a non-alcoholic Cheers—the sort of joint where people know your name and where you can find a place to work and a place to converse about politics, life, and the weather. I think places like this are the platforms upon which communities are built. Spin was a public place, but not an anonymous space.

    Now that platform for community is in jeopardy here in our neighborhood.

  2. Adam February 9, 2011 at 2:40 pm #

    Thanks Michael. So well said. The worse part is that I can see Spin from my office on Somerton St and all day I’ve been watching people walk up to the door, try it, and then stand there with astonishment on their faces as reality sets in. We need to get another coffee shop in there ASAP!

  3. Brian February 9, 2011 at 3:34 pm #

    Sigh… What a shame! Living just a half block away for the last 10 months, Spin had become part of my daily routine! I was there Sunday late afternoon for a cup of the “good stuff” as everyone else prepared for their Super Bowl Festivities. Everything seemed to be on the up and up. If anything the place was abnormally busy. Not the sight you would normally associate with a struggling business. Monday morning I made my way over and was confronted with a sign stating “Closed this Morning”! Little did I know that 2 days later there would be a for rent sign hanging in the window… Im pretty shocked to be honest, but then again given the current economic climate maybe not so much. I guess nothing is resilent to our underlying economic crisis. The irony here for me is that as I personally struggle to find employment, Spin has sort of became my daily refuge from it all. A place I would go to put a positive “spin” on a bad day and some real discouraging results in my ongoing job hunt. More then the coffee, I will miss the folks that worked there. They were always there to bring a smile to my face and listen to me vent about my job hunt. I wish them all the best! Bye Spin

  4. Doug Schofield February 9, 2011 at 3:53 pm #

    Hi Adam,
    I had been going to Spin 4 or 5 times a day since it opened 10 years ago. Over the years, a friendly culture had developed where people could relax, discuss current affairs, study, or work on their laptops. It was a special place. I hope the business that takes Spins place can replicate this. If they can, I am sure the same patrons will return.


  5. Adam February 9, 2011 at 3:59 pm #

    Me 2 @Doug. Seems like there was a solid group of people who purchased every day. Now we just need to find an investor. BTW – I just saw a camera crew out in front of Spin. Looks like it will make the local news.

  6. Rob February 9, 2011 at 4:01 pm #

    I stopped by Spin about 30 min ago and saw the sign. :C
    Although I don’t visit very often in the winter, Spin was the best place for coffee and people-watching in the Somerton Park area over the summer. I will really miss it! In the summertime I would go 3 or 4 times a week and watch folks try to parallel park on the avenue… so much entertainment to be had. Oh, and the desserts were smashing — loved those artisan cakes and the vegan almond horns. I think I’ll miss the people the most – the gentlemans’ brunch crowd, the guy with the two cute sled dogs and the barista on ice. Not gonna lie, Spin was my favorite gay-friendly hangout outside of the bars .,, we just lost a great place to socialize, ladies.
    I’ve only been to the High Falls location a few times over the years but losing that location is also just as sad. Sorry to see it go. Best wishes to the former owners.

  7. Esther February 9, 2011 at 4:25 pm #

    Over four years ago, I moved to Rochester and looked for a coffee shop within walking distance of my apartment. I found Spin online, and it immediately felt like the perfect place to have a good cappuccino or hot tea (the loose kind, not the teabags), to read, and to get to know your neighbors. In fact, my boyfriend and I met there–having sat down in adjacent chairs and started talking about books, etc. Spin Caffe gave me a good impression of Rochester from the start, and it has continued to represent the kind of warmth this town has to offer. My thoughts go out to the owners and the staff–I will miss them. I hope to see that corner of Park Ave remain a locally owned coffee shop.

  8. SteveH February 10, 2011 at 8:50 am #

    I’ve worked out of Spin on Park Ave most mornings for years. The service was always good for me and I made freinds with the folks who worked there, as well as other regulars like me. Kurt and Monica, the owners, were always friendly with me and Kurk always attended to any wireless issues quickly. One of my Spin friends, Mike, said this about Spin “I think places like this are the platforms upon which communities are built. Spin was a public place, but not an anonymous space.” I have especially enjoyed the wide spectrum of “acquaintances and acquaintances who become friends” at Spin on Park Ave, as well as many compelling conversations.
    I will miss Spin on myriad levels and wish Kurk and Monica well on their new path.

  9. Alisa February 10, 2011 at 8:58 am #

    When I read the sign “closed this morning” I just stood at the foot of the stairs and looked down the street, going through each of the other businesses on Park in my mind, one by one so as not to miss any, trying to find another place to “set up shop”. I work for myself, on a part time basis, and am looking for more full time employment, on top of being relatively new boomerang resident to Rochester. Spin was my home on park. And while I didn’t mind temporarily relocating my base of operations, I can’t quite get my head around the permanent version.

    I was only just starting to really settle in there and frankly, open my mouth and start talking more with people. I just recently caught myself wondering who would be at the coffee shop and what event would unwind out the front window while I was there. Would I possibly watch something as fascinating as the city cutting down a large tree across the street and delight in the crashing of the ice-caked branches on the pavement below?

    Aside from hoping for new investors to come along and to reopen what at least from the outside looks like a turn-key operation, I wonder what type of community involvement would move that process along. Or even, is there such a thing as a community supported local coffee shop, beyond the obvious support through purchases?

  10. Adam February 10, 2011 at 9:39 am #

    @SteveH – Yeah, I agree. The staff was always friendly. And we just don’t have THAT many community spaces left anymore. This one is, obviously, quite important to the community.

    @Alisa – Thanks for posting. Making your comment public here is a great start. You should also post on the stories at the D&C. Those comment boards can be so toxicly negative, I feel we need to jump in there and show support for our local meeting spot.

  11. Renee February 10, 2011 at 10:26 am #

    A friend put me in contact with Joe Bean. They are currently in Webster and scouting out a new location. I know it takes a lot more than just “oh, look; a vacant place” to make the decision to establish your business somewhere. And we know how hard it is to run a small business in the current economic climate. Fuel prices are high, the price of goods and services is high and you have to pay employees. But I didn’t want to miss an opportunity for them to consider the Park Avenue neighborhood.

    Continue to get the word out people!

  12. Jay February 10, 2011 at 12:35 pm #

    It’s always a sad moment when a popular place shuts down. What has been said above is too true. A community gathering place, a social network with REAL faces and living, breathing people, a meeting center that’s easily accessible… it all goes with the closing of the doors. How can that be replaced?

  13. Michael Brown February 10, 2011 at 12:56 pm #

    Hi folks,

    The comments made here have been such a comfort, as they suggest a fund of shared values and experiences centered around a treasured little spot. The value of such a place cannot be quantified fully in the market. The positive externalities of each transaction at Spin reached far beyond the money that changed hands. Sadly, the market does not have a mechanism for taking those additional benefits–the social and community capital accrued there–into account.

    Are there any business models that do incorporate this kind of added value?

    I am heartened also by the sense I get that folks want to take action so that what we liked about Spin can be preserved in that location. I volunteer myself to be a participant in any such actions.

    Thanks to Adam and Renee for providing a virtual forum to hold this valuable discussion about the physical forum we’ve lost.

  14. Renee February 10, 2011 at 12:59 pm #

    It’s interesting. We created this web site not too long ago in an effort to revive our little Park Ave Central neighborhood association. We met the president of the dormant association to start the conversation at, of course, our local coffee shop. Spin.

  15. Adam February 16, 2011 at 12:58 pm #

    BTW – The “FOR RENT” sign has been removed from the window of Spin. I’d like to think this is good news, but I don’t know anything concrete at the moment. I know Renee and Michael spoke about the issue last night at the PARC Meeting.

  16. Renee February 16, 2011 at 4:31 pm #

    Wow. That was fast. I believe Tom, the owner, is on vacation. I left a message with his office. I also e-mailed Jimmy to see if we can get the scoop. Let’s hope our involvement swayed Tom’s decision.

  17. Kirk April 21, 2011 at 11:20 pm #

    It’s been a couple of months and I so wish we could have said good-bye to all of our customers and friends on the Avenue. It was a very hard decision and the sudden closing was the only option we had. On behalf of my family, I want to thank everyone who supported us in our efforts to keep things going.

    Sadly, we just couldn’t continue to lose money much less put money into improvements. With a 45% increase in green coffee prices in 8 months, our decision was unavoidable. Final nail, so to speak.

    I’m excited for the folks at Boulder Coffee Company who are remodeling and will open in 5 or 6 weeks. I wish them well and hope everyone will support the new shop. Of course it won’t be Spin Coffee Roasters coffee but it will be better than any chain coffee could even hope for.

    Thank you all for your kind words.


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