Local coffee shop closes its doors

Bartlett’s Organic Coffees & Teas closed its doors about three weeks ago.
Anna Vignet/Senior Staff
Bartlett’s Organic Coffees & Teas closed its doors about three weeks ago.

Bartlett’s Organic Coffees & Teas, a local coffee shop which was once a popular gathering place for local high school students, recently closed down due to insufficient business.

The cafe officially closed its doors about three weeks ago after making the decision to move to a more frequented area of Berkeley in order to draw more customers, according to its owner, Benjamin Bartlett, though he said the new location has yet to be determined.

Formerly located next to the Berkeley Public Library on Kittredge Street, the cafe was close to City Hall and Berkeley High School. According to Bartlett, many high school students considered it a hang-out spot and would frequent the cafe as often as four days a week after classes.

Bartlett said the move would be difficult after forming close ties to the community but said his relationship with former neighbors is “forever and unchanging.”

Because high school students were the cafe’s most frequent visitors, its profits were greatly impacted by the season, Bartlett said. When students were on breaks from school, business became incredibly slow.

“We decided to move (the shop) because we need more traffic,” Bartlett said. “We need a location that has a bit more foot traffic and readily accessible parking.”

Bartlett said he hopes the change will increase business but that he is not solely dependent on the move to raise profits. He said he may also branch out to mobile carts and additional stores that would sell his products to make sure the shop’s coffee is “accessible to all people.”

But Bartlett’s is not the only local coffee shop looking at adjusting its business practices to raise revenue.

Zanzibar, a coffee shop that opened in March on Durant Avenue in Sather Lane — a highly traveled region near Telegraph Avenue — is facing similar problems.

Despite the shop’s location, Zosha Candel, a cashier and barista at Zanzibar, said business has been “very, very slow” since the start of summer.

According to Candel, Zanzibar recently underwent a change in management and plans to make some changes to its business model, such as including more food options and expanding its kitchen size.

Bartlett said the lack of customers for businesses stems from a shortage of jobs, resulting in the “larger macro issue of underconsumption,” which he said causes business to decline.

He said the city needs to take steps to fix its economy and work to prevent similar financial problems from occurring, starting by educating its youths.

Additionally, Bartlett said he views his cafe as a way to help younger generations gain real-world experience through employment. He said he also hopes to inspire them to be involved in important issues taking place, referring to his cafe as “a great mobilizing force for kids.”

“I’d like to continue to empower the kids and shape them as leaders in the community,” he said.