There was a time – typically winter – that I'd be at Mayfair almost weekly. And the Alterra Coffee kiosk, smack dab in front of Williams-Sonoma was my watering hole.
In recent months my visits to the mall have been short and strategic, so I only noticed yesterday that the Alterra kiosk is gone. It's been out for about a month now, it seems.
I couldn't believe it. Though it's not quite on the same scale, the mall felt a bit like it did after the skating rink was removed. But in that case we were warned and there were months of renovations. It was no surprise.
So, I sent a note to Alterra co-owner Lincoln Fowler, who said, "We loved the kiosk, too! Sadly, we were unable to come to terms with Mayfair for a renewal of our lease."
The kiosk appeared to do a brisk business and rarely was I able to saunter up and order without waiting behind at least a couple folks. Sometimes – pretty often – there was what appeared to be healthy caffeine-fueled traffic. But I don't know the details of the math involved in making the kiosk financially viable.
I do know that the Alterra nearby at 92nd and North is expanding. And I know that a new location on 68th and Wells is expected to open by spring. Last week I passed that site, and the empty building there had been razed in preparation.
And, word is that Alterra is taking Horace Greeley's famous exhortation and headed west, too. (I'll let you know when there are details on that).
In the meantime, I will try to remember to stop and grab my Alterra on the way to Mayfair. But it'll be a hard habit to break, stopping at the kiosk for some coffee to wash down the samples at Williams-Sonoma.
If the coffee/pie shop is good at what they do, they'll survive. It reminds me of the South Park episode where the residents were all upset about Wal-Mart coming into their community. To kill Wal-Mart they needed to find the heart of Wal-Mart which turned out to be a mirror. In other words, people talk a good game about local business until the alternative comes in.
Support the little coffee shop across the street...it's owned and run by a very nice woman...who also sells delicious pastry, pies and cake! The little shop is called La Tarte..we DON"T need another Alterra or Starbucks in the neighborhood.
Awesome about their new location on Wells. Right across the street from...the little coffee place that's already there. Kind of like opening across from Stone Creek in Bay View. Alterrabucks!
belle123, It's true. They could have stayed (they were on a month to month lease for a while at the end) but they would have had to move locations to appease J Crew (which obviously pays a lot more in rent to Mayfair than Alterra does).
If a past employee said it, it must be true! really?
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