Fans of a west-side coffee shop have only two more days to visit before it closes — maybe temporarily, maybe for good.
Kookaburra Coffee, which owner Rebecca Fox and her father-in-law opened in the Westlink shopping center in late 2018, will close at the end of business on Wednesday.
Fox, in a lengthy Facebook post that went up on Monday, said that she’s just been too busy with her full-time job — a multi-state coffee service company — to give the cafe the attention it needs and said that it’s barely breaking even.
But, Fox wrote, the closing may not be permanent. She has the lease on the space until December. On Tuesday, she said that she was entertaining offers to transfer ownership of Kookaburra to a new party.
“We really want Kookaburra to continue to be a part of the community, and we’re considering all options that would make it possible to reopen,” she said.
Fox, who started the business as a food trailer in 2017, originally planned to open Kookaburra’s brick-and-mortar cafe in the former Mead’s Corner space at Douglas and Emporia. But before she was able to move in, the building was purchased by TGC Development Group, which eventually demolished it and put up a new office building.
Fox then found the space at 9414 W. Central, which had previously been home to Verita Coffee. She opened Kookaburra there in December of 2018.
Detailing her reasons for deciding to close, Fox wrote, “Of course we all know what happened in 2020.”
Not only did COVID-19 affect all small businesses that year, but Fox also was at the center of controversy when a Facebook post where she took a strong stand against customers abusing her staff over the COVID-19 mask mandate went viral.
When it did, offended parties dug into her social media profile and found old posts where she spoke out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. In one, referring to George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police, she wrote “Personally, I think there should be a vigilante out there bringing these ‘cops’ to justice. Let someone stand on their neck until they die while they plead for their lives.”
Not long after, a group of Blue Lives Matter protesters surrounded Kookaburra, but the controversy died down pretty quickly.
Fox also said in the post that she’s mostly been relying on staff to keep the shop afloat, and her manager has just taken another job. In addition, she wrote, her daughter has been recently diagnosed with autism and that she and her husband felt “overwhelmed on a personal level.”
She encouraged people to use their gift cards before Wednesday in case she’s not able to reopen the shop.
“I hope you all can understand and I’m sorry for having to make this decision. It is absolutely heartbreaking for me,” she wrote. I spent the last 5 years dumping my heart and soul into it. I really tried to make it into something wonderful to share and I’m devastated to close it.”