When your family has a deal in place to sell its building at 15th and Madison for $33.5 million and you have a popular but profit-challenged nutrition-oriented cafe and juice bar in that building, you probably can’t complain when your cafe can no longer afford the rent.
We missed the announcement in the wake of Chicago-based Equity Residential’s acquisition of The Pearl building in December but Justin Brotman’s healthful cafe Healeo shuttered earlier this month.
Brotman tells CHS that the Healeo business lives on as a wholesale juice concern 50% owned by local Charlie’s Produce. Small test shops around 500 square feet could be in the Healeo brand’s future.
Brotman also has his hands and fingers full this presidential election year typing out Tweets and updates faster than even CHS with his social media-focused political news operation Bipartisan Report. “Internet Newspaper and powerful news search engine. The Internet’s Largest newspaper,” the site bills itself.
Healeo opened in 2009 as a glossier than you might have expected “neighborhood nutrition bar.” With his family’s Costco roots, Brotman’s 15th and Madison cafe and juice bar looked ready to be the first of many Healeos. But the start-up nature extended to the business’s profits — a 2014 lawsuit brought by a bookkeeper who claimed she was owed more than $20,000 noted that from 2009 to at least mid-2014, Healeo “operated on negative margins” and often required “cash infusions” from a Brotman Family Trust.
Still, the cafe had plenty of fans — CHS once slurped a smoothie with Chihuly — and the wholesale juice business has a solid customer set, Brotman said. You’ll probably see Healeo here again.
“I’ll miss our corner but we will likely be back on the Hill somewhere in a small spot,” Brotman said.
You can learn more about where to find Healeo products at healeo.com.