Telecommunications giant AT&T has ended its Capitol Hill experiment. The Lounge by AT&T and Ada’s Discovery Cafe will not reopen as COVID-19 restrictions are slowly lifted.
“With more customers shopping online, we are closing a small percentage of our retail stores to reflect our customers’ shopping practices,” Jim Kimberly, director of corporate communications for AT&T, tells CHS. “While these plans are not new, they have been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Ada’s owner Danielle Hulton confirmed the closure, telling CHS that AT&T’s decision to shutter the store meant the end of the cafe.
CHS reported opening of the AT&T retail and cafe concept in September 2018. The E Thomas venue in new construction just off Broadway combined a coffee shop with local owners paired with an AT&T store, plus service and product showcase. The unusual pairing added an even more unusual twist last October when AT&T opted to transform the space into a replica of the set of the Friends television show as part of marketing for promotions for the program’s 25th anniversary.
The closure could make it even more difficult to find a table as Capitol Hill coffee shops reopen. Along this stretch of Broadway, Cafe Solstice exited the area last fall to make way for an expansion of the Urban Animal veterinary clinic.
For Capitol Hill-born Ada’s, the partnership with AT&T represented a low-risk, high-reward opportunity for their coffee and cafe ambitions, Hulton told CHS at the time.
The Discovery Cafe closing comes as Ada’s is growing this summer through an acquisition of the small Fuel Coffee chain including locations on 19th Ave E and Montlake. Hulton said thanks to the Fuel shops reopening, Ada’s has been able to offer the Discovery Cafe employees new positions with Fuel. She also said expect more news to come soon for the Ada’s and Fuel family of businesses.
As for AT&T, the retail experiment ends amid a tide of economic uncertainty surrounding the current pandemic. So far, closures of businesses here on Capitol Hill have been limited.
Capitol Hill and Central District COVID-19 Crisis Closures: CHS has tried to confirm all reported statuses. Please let us know if any information needs to be updated firstname.lastname@example.org -- LAST UPDATED: 7/23/20
Food and drink
- Nates Wings & Waffles, Happy Grillmore and the Central District Ice Cream Company, announced 8/6/20
- Americana, Broadway, announced 7/23/20
- The Lounge by AT&T and Ada’s Discovery Cafe, E Thomas, announced 7/7/20
- Bill's Off Broadway, E Pine, announced 6/24/20
- Stumptown, 12th Ave, announced 5/26/20
- Adana, 15th and Pine, announced 5/21/20
- Tougo, 18th and Union, announced early April, Yesler location remains open
- My Thai, 10th Ave E, closed but we're not sure when it shuttered
Retail and more
- Ritual House, 19th Ave E, reported 7/15/20
- Totokaelo, 10th Ave, reported 7/13/20
- Mode of Fitness, E Pine
- Urban Outfitters, Broadway, youth fashion chain's exit began last summer as Broadway Market began search for new tenant
- Le Frock, E Pike, consignment shop announced permanent closure in April
BECOME A 'PAY WHAT YOU CAN' CHS SUBSCRIBER TODAY: Support local journalism dedicated to your neighborhood. SUBSCRIBE HERE. Join to become a subscriber at $1/$5/$10 a month to help CHS provide community news with NO PAYWALL. You can also sign up for a one-time annual payment.