East Naples coffee shop will close by March 28

Before it could move on its own terms, a popular East Naples coffee shop and night spot is being evicted.

Bayshore Coffee Co., which devoted its business to community, music, art and philanthropy, will be gone from 3570 Bayshore Drive by March 28.

Owners Chris Hall-Futrell and Donna Hall had plans to expand their business into new digs at Sugden Park Plaza two miles away, but not until the summer’s end.

The unexpected eviction, while knocking a little wind from their sails, has turned their attention full-bore to starting over again.

“This all happened for a reason,” said Hall, the daughter in the mother-daughter duo that has run the shop since 2006. “It’s going to be a rough ... six months. Walking away from our customers is so hard.”

Since January when their lease expired, Bayshore had a month-to-month agreement with its landlord, Hall said. Their landlord asked that they prove themselves as a business before a new lease was signed, she said.

In the end, however, this arrangement allowed the property owner to force them out.

Bayshore’s manager, Danielle Masseria, said all rent payments and obligations were up to date and in order.

Property owner Deb Angus declined to comment on anything but her prepared statement.

“We wanted to find another tenant that would fill the void in the neighborhood left by their moving,” she said.

A new tenant will be taking over some time in April, although Angus declined to say who or what type of shop will fill the space.

“We are excited to see what they bring to the mix,” she said.

Customers were stunned to hear of the eviction and vowed to find Bayshore Coffee once they reopen.

Peter Cryne, whose friends know they can find him either at a gym or the coffee shop, has been a loyal client for years.

“It’s a very unique setup,” Cryne said over his morning bagel. “It’s an area that doesn’t attract the mainstream. We enjoy the ambiance.”

A businessman himself, Cryne questioned Angus’ decision.

“If you’ve got a tenant paying rent in this economic climate, I’d be inclined to hang on to what I’ve got instead of taking a chance on the unknown,” he said.

Tom and Jean Ahern spend time in Bayshore Coffee a few times a week. Tom Ahern, an avid piano player, saddles up to the antique Cable-Nelson upright grand piano in the corner every chance he can. It’s a nice break from the electronic keyboard he shipped to Naples from his home in Connecticut.

“We’ll miss them because we’re leaving next week,” Tom Ahern said. “We’ll see them in their new place next year, we hope.”

This eclectic shop has become a hangout for all ages, all backgrounds, all types of people.

Its lounge is surrounded by local artists’ work and its patio, under strands of white lights, is as welcoming as a backyard barbecue.

Crowds pack in for open-mic nights, blue-grass bands and, of course, coffee, which is what prompted the Hall family to think of expanding.

They opened their space up to local charities, as well, such as Naples’ Salvation Army child care center, whose volunteer recently came each night for a week to raise money and awareness.

“It was heartwarming because we never would have had this exposure had they not had their community awareness week,” said Dixie Lee Craig, a volunteer. “It (helped) the children with their tuition for day care and people are in need at this time.”

Comments written on the so-called wall of fame evidence Bayshore customers’ devotion.

“Bayshore, here’s to endless possibilities and dreams coming true,” wrote one patron. “I will love this place forever,” said another.

With the business closing for about five months -- they still hope to reopen as Bayshore Coffee House this year -- Hall is searching for the silver lining.

The family was getting cold feet about its decision to move off of Bayshore Drive after some customers, worried the change would destroy the community it had built, begged them to stay.

Their landlord made the decision for them.

“Obviously it’s the universe pushing us saying, ‘This is what you guys need to be doing,’” Hall said.

© 2009 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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