Pourt, the cafe-work space combo at 35 Cooper Square, shut down after service on Friday.
There's a message on the bottom of the Pourt website noting that they "are unfortunately no longer operating. Thank you to all of our customers."
It seemed like a good idea on paper: a mixture of coffeehouse and workspace. People could rent a desk with speedy fiber optics by the hour ($7) and order bottomless coffee ($2.99). There was also access to printers, phone chargers, Skype facilities, etc., as well as a larger conference room for small groups.
The New York Business Journal wrote about the space back in March:
Pourt is striving to create a new hybrid, a mixture of coffeehouse and workspace, emphasizing short-term stays. Whether there are enough freelancers and small businesses that can pay those fees is yet to be determined.
It‘s located on Cooper Square, strategically situated near Cooper Union, NYU, Manhattan Marymount College dorms and the Standard Hotel in the bustling East Village. The combined space measures 2,000 square feet.
Founders Matt Tervooren, 28, and 27-year-old Mike Kruszewski, lived in the East Village (Tervooren recently moved to Williamsburg) and met as economics majors at the University of Michigan. When they freelanced, they were “consistently frustrated by the lack of good Wifi, lack of available seating, or having the barista frowning at you if you don’t order more food,” Tervooren noted.
Pourt, he said, “combines the two concepts, a coffee shop with a comfortable work space.” And what differentiates Pourt from other co-working spaces such as WeWork and Regus is customers “don’t have to make long-term commitments. If you’re looking for a permanent office, we’re not right,” he admitted.
So what happened? One local who frequented the space offered this analysis:
Their rent was very high and they had a lot of square footage. They took so much space because they originally thought they could have space in the back where people would pay to work during the day. Their rent required that the work space generate substantial revenue. But nobody wanted to pay $10+/hour to work in the back when there are so many other options nearby. So they tried a bunch of other business models over the past year, trying to figure out how to generate enough revenue to pay crazy East Village rents on a large space that a coffee shop model alone couldn’t support. They were nice guys and worked hard ... it’s a shame.
Pourt opened back in January in the base of the Marymount Manhattan College dormitory here at Sixth Street.
The owners were unsuccessful in their bid for a full liquor license in July.
Previously on EV Grieve:
Pourt softly opens on Cooper Square
Pourt signage arrives at Cooper Square dorm retail space