A tiff over coffee has crumbled the hopes of a new Capitol Hill sweet shop before they had a chance to bake. The expansion of The Cookie Counter to E Pike has come to an end after only a few weeks of business.
Owner Chelsea Keene announced the sudden closure this week — along with a picture of a fractured cookie. “We are not able to go into much detail, but in a nutshell it is due to irreconcilable issues with our lease terms along with issues with a fellow building tenant,” she wrote. “We put so much into the space and having to leave so soon has crushed us.”
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Keene tells CHS The Cookie Counter business caused a kerfuffle in the E Pike building when it joined Gay City in the space. “We unfortunately had some issues with a fellow building tenant that did not allow us to operate with our full menu, limiting the beverages we could serve,” she said. “This was a major hindrance and with the fall & winter months approaching, we couldn’t successfully operate that way.”
“We’re sad to say goodbye,” Keene said. “Thank you to everyone that supported us.” The original Greenwood location, meanwhile, remains open.
Keene declined to elaborate on the E Pike dispute and “other lease issues” but a person close to the situation says the tiff started as soon as the vegan cookie business moved into the nonprofit Gay City’s open cafe space. Complaints from Kaladi Brothers pushed coffee and espresso off The Cookie Counter’s menu, leaving the sweet shop in the awkward and bad for business position of turning away customers looking for something to dunk their snickerdoodles in.
Kaladi has not responded to our inquiry about the situation.
The Greenwood-born dessert shop and café for vegan pastries, cookies, and ice cream moved into Kaladi’s former space inside the overhauled Gay City this summer after the Alaska-headquartered coffee chain’s move up the block to an expanded location. Gay City had hopes its choice of tenants would be the start of a new kind of partnership for the LGBTQ+ nonprofit to form a closer bond and collaborative partner with the business sharing its space.
Instead, the search begins for a new partner to fill the space. It’s likely coffee will not be part of the equation.