Monday, November 25, 2019

The 1st Avenue and 2nd Avenue locations of the Bean closed for good yesterday


[1st Avenue location photo by Steven]

Regulars were shocked to learn that the seemingly always-busy Bean locations on First Avenue and Ninth Street and Second Avenue and Third Street shut down after service yesterday.

A tipster told us about Bean employees thanking regulars for their patronage. (Another tipster said that the store employees received little warning about the closure.)

"It is sad but true that we are closing those stores. It is a very hard day for us," owner Ike Escava confirmed via email. "Due to rising costs the decision to close was unfortunately the only one we could make."

Moving forward, the coffee shop will maintain the location on Third Avenue at Ninth Street and the incoming spot on Broadway and Ninth Street. (The Bean on Broadway and 12th Street closed earlier this month ahead of the move to the larger space on Broadway.)

"We hope to continue to see our loyal customers at those locations and to continue serving the East Village for a very long time," he said.

The Bean has had a presence in the East Village since 2003.

The outpost on Second Avenue and Third Street debuted in December 2011.


[Photo from 2011]

The First Avenue and Ninth Street shop opened in June 2012.

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

this comes as a big surprise given the fact there is a huge profit margin in coffee sales and both locations seemed consistently busy, good luck with the locations further west

Anonymous said...

“Seemingly always busy” is right. Too bad.

Anonymous said...

Too many people on their laptop taking up space for customers and not enough people buying food and beverages

Michael Penn Photography said...

Way too many izombies on laptops, tablets, or phones , and sometimes on all three taking up tables for hours. They leave no room room for people wanting to actually eat and drink let alone turn over.

Anonymous said...

coffee sales have um very standard margins, and no matter how you cut costs any business based around ~$5 transactions will have tight margins.

Brian said...

These were two lovely coffee houses. Maybe too lovely. There always seemed to be a lot of "campers" there when I went in. People who paid little or nothing, brought their computer and phone and power cord, books, papers and set up their study or office. I wondered, are they paying enough in coffee and pastry to camp out for 4 hours? Could I blame them, they were lovely places it sit and take a rest.

Anonymous said...

I noticed that many use coffee shops as their office, they hold meetings there. It's the same people sitting there every day.

afbp said...

LONGTIME (happy) customer---VERY well run coffee spot (had laptop FREE areas)---i will assume---once again---a landlord feels they will be able to secure a HIGH profile tenant---conundrum---the HIGH profile tenants are ONLY going to consider areas with tourist/super foot traffic---for the most part that eliminates the EV (mon-fri 7:00am-5:00pm)---think we may begin to see retail areas converted to residential......

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a shock.

Anonymous said...

Yesterday 3:00 PM I wanted to meet a friend for coffee and few minutes of conversation. We wandered around the neighborhood to three different coffee houses and finally ended up at a disliked diner. No available seating at the coffee houses, majority of the “customers” were on laptops with no food or drinks. The diner was empty, only one other customer.

kitten said...

wow! at this rate of new daily closures, and ever growing amount of empty storefronts, the neighborhood very may well soon look like the 80's again by the end of the year.
Meanwhile high concept cafes like Boris & Horton occupy four storefonts...

Anonymous said...

This closure was not landlord related. The company had unexpected expenses related to ownership and had no choice but to free up capital and cut expenses. They are doing fine business-wise

Anonymous said...

@9:38AM - umm no coffee sales do NOT have "very standard margins"...coffee sales don't even have standard margins, much less VERY standard margins. 8:06AM was correct - coffee sales have huge profit margins. How huge? A cup of coffee costs 18 - 20 CENTS wholesale in NYC and is rarely sold for less than $5 (often more) in trendy cafes like The Bean. Other than fountain soft drinks, coffee sales have perhaps the highest profit margin in the entire food and beverage industry - liquor sales are way up there too.

Brian Van said...

@Anon 11:24am:

Signs point, then, to this being related to the relocation of the Broadway location a few blocks south; taking over a new space requires a LOT of capital and sometimes very unexpected additional costs (including time needed to get all the permits in-line).

If they saw some writing on the wall for the other locations, they may have cut them loose now (even if profitable) knowing that they would be a burden later. It's very easy to blame "landlords" but I would also consider that property assessments in these areas are always rising, which means that the retail businesses' share of the tax bill spikes independently of the rent. This is what has made storefronts unaffordable for many busy retailers.

If the Bway/E9th location is a good setup for them, they may want to focus on bringing that up-to-speed. The Third Ave branch is also in a busy residential AND office area, which means they can rely on workday customers from those offices as well as morning commuters & freelancers. (One thing about coffee is that you can't sell a lot of it at night) So I could see them as being positioned strongly with the three remaining stores (Williamsburg too)

Of course, this is a major bummer for the rest of us. We are losing way too many good established places lately.

noble neolani said...

Sometimes when out with a friend and we want to have a coffee, chat and catch up it is nearly impossible to find a place with a free small table for the reasons already stated. It seems these businesses don't dare eliminate the wifi but maybe it would be worth trying it before deciding to shut shop.

Anonymous said...

Something I never thought I would see. These are prime locations and they do always seem busy. I personally did not like the vibe in there, it's not a comfortable place to sit for coffee - but I am sad to see them go.

Scuba Diva said...

At 10:09 AM, Anonymous said...

I noticed that many use coffee shops as their office, they hold meetings there. It's the same people sitting there every day.

This is a story as old as time itself; my now-deceased roommate would reminisce about how when Veselka had a row of payphones on their back wall—before their expansion they had shared a restroom with Dinosaur Hill—people would often hang out back there and receive phone calls.

(This was before Ruth Messinger put a stop to payphones being able to receive calls, apparently thinking that it would impact the drug dealers.)

rubygirl said...

I believe it amounted to the current owners buying out another owner. And on top of that the staff found out they were out of a job the same day as the closing. Not very ethical and I’ll not be going to another Bean further away. Instead, Boris & Horton will get my money.

Giovanni said...

Losing one neighborhood hangout is bad enough, but losing two at the same time is shocking. After seeing Starbucks closing so many locations (not to mention Duane Reade) I was sure we would see a wave of stores closing, but not these stores, and I never could predict that three Bean locations would close within a month of each other.

The Bean’s new 9th street location has plenty of tables, but still has the problem of the laptop warriors who don't seem to buy more than a cup and sit there all day. I have seen managers patrolling the tables and telling people they need to buy something if they want to sit there.

I will miss those 9th Street benches on a warm summer day,, it was always a good place to sit, sip and rest up for the next leg of a trip. The late afternoon light on 1st Avenue at sunset is always amazing to see. Hopefully their staff will move over to the new Broadway store, because getting just one day notice is much too abrupt.

New York is like one big giant pop up store now; blink and you might miss it.

rubygirl said...

I remember those days. Also I’d add that every neighborhood needs a meeting place they can run into friends and acquaintances. First Avenue now has another empty black hole. Coffee at Boris & Horton is pretty good. The food choices are a little expensive though.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, as sad as it is, there are a plethora of other cafes and coffee shops to patronize, especially in the east village.

Unknown said...

WiFi password should change automatically every hour. If you want to get the password, you have to buy something.

La vie est belle said...

This is so sad. I've been going to the Bean since the original was open on 1st Ave and 3rd Street, before the Starbucks pushed them out by offering to pay 3x the rent. I love sitting in the big bright windows watching the world go by. I've spent many long days there reading or on my laptop (but not all day long). I like to mix it up with other cafes in the neighborhood. I always thought they should have a unique Wi-Fi code on the receipt that shuts off after 1 hour. Or switch up the colors of the cups/plates every couple hours so it's obvious who has overstayed and is mooching the tables. I have no issue asking a laptop warrior if I can sit in the extra chair. Half the time they leave within ten minutes being uncomfortable with sharing a table with a stranger!

Cait said...

I hope the 9th Street benches can stay - there's so much hostile street architecture throughout the city. Anyone looking for good coffee and a lovely place to meet a friend and chat for a while should walk down two blocks to the Portuguese cafe on E. 7th.

Giovanni said...

@4:06PM Nice sense of empathy you have there. It would be a shame if something happened to it. So lets try this in reverse:

“Honestly, as sad as it is that your house burned down, there are plenty of other apartments to rent in the neighborhood, especially in the East Village.”

Or:
“Honestly, as sad as it is that your per hamster died, there are plenty of other hamsters for sale, especially in the East Village.”

And!
“Honestly, as sad as it is that dozens of people lost their jobs, including yours, there are plenty of other jobs, especially in the East Village.’

Empathy: either you have it, or you don’t.

Xeo said...

Oh.. come on! This sucks. I used to go to both the Bean on 9th as well as the starbucks on 2nd ave. Both were great for different things. There used to be so many coffee joints around there... and now there's just MUD.... and TBH... they don't really do the whole "large iced coffee to go" thing very well.

Everything feels like it's closing this year. This is crazy. I wonder how long all these storefronts will stay empty.

This and Harry and Ida's ... shit man.

Anonymous said...

Wow. There are a lot of responses on here. Who knew the closing of a cafe could elicit such passion?

Anonymous said...

You have rejoiced at chain stores closing without a thought for the people who lost jobs. Many times. Maybe you don't have empathy either

Unknown said...

Between Obscura, The Beans, Harry & Ida, BeQu, the Churro Cone, Three Seats, the Croissant place on A...

Empty storefronts and sadness.

Giovanni said...

You’re right, I have zero empathy for corporations that destroy local businesses or for those who say get over it when local businesses shut down. The destructive mallification and condofication of the East Village are the entire reason why this blog exists. And if you don’t like it, go back to Ohio. Happy Thanksgiving! 🦃

Kira said...

Absolutely a bummer. I ran the location on broadway for about 5 years and this news feels a little like a gut punch. My heart goes out to the employees, and I hope this new venture is successful.

Anonymous said...

If Starbucks at 9th St. and Broadway closed, how will The Bean be able to make it there?

Anonymous said...

it sucks when people lose their jobs regardless of where they work. Especially this time of year. And I'm from here. are you?

Anonymous said...

@5:38pm: How will The Bean be able to make it there? For one thing, I think the employees at The Bean are nicer than the employees at Starbucks. For another, the foods available at The Bean are better than the food choices at Starbucks. Just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how long the location will be vacant on 2nd Avenue. I remember it being empty for years before the bean came in.

RayGeekNYC said...

Many of the employees seemingly had no warning of the closure - no matter what the finances were, the owners were unethical and cruel to spring unemployment on their employees. As a regular *customer* rather than just *wifi squatter* I'm finding somewhere else, with owners that treat their employees better than Ike and Sammy did.

patrick hegarty said...

you can never find a seat to enjoy a cup of coffee in those places..people camp out for hours