One week after he told NewsWorks that his year-old coffee shop in Germantown’s Chelten Plaza was closing for good, Robert Wheeler’s tone still carried an air of resignation on Tuesday.
“It’s my baby. It was a dream of mine to come back to Germantown,” said Wheeler, a born-and-raised neighborhood guy who closed a Mt. Airy cafe while getting his West Chelten Avenue location up and running.
“So many people, with all the events we created here, they’re reaching out,” he continued. “My Facebook page is going crazy, blowing up with people thanking me and asking how I’m doing and all.”
Wheeler said Tuesday afternoon that he’d gone out of town for a few days after packing up shop, but is already seeking a new location to start anew.
“They pretty much set the place up to fail. I feel like I was priced out,” said Wheeler, citing a $2,750 rent on the 1,400 square-foot location, an opening delayed by months and lack of eyecatching signage that had been promised to draw customers in.
“Going into the second year, with another cafe going across the street,” he continued, “it just wasn’t generating enough money to stay open.”
A call seeking comment from plaza developer Patrick Burns after Wheeler’s announcement went unreturned this week.
Possible new locations
Wheeler told NewsWorks that he’s “already looking on Germantown Avenue for a new location. And, I love Maplewood Mall,” referring to the nook near Germantown and Chelten avenues which was just infused with $2.2 million in city Commerce Department capital for an overhaul.
“I’m talking to some people now, so I don’t want to put an exact number on how long it’ll be before [we reopen],” Wheeler said.
“I really want people to come out and support these other businesses,” he continued. “If you get coffee, get it from local places. Show that support if you want new businesses to come to Germantown.”