Owner blames Durham parking meters for coffee shop's demise
Posted December 17, 2014
Durham, N.C. — The owner of a Durham coffee shop has blamed the metered spaces in a nearby city parking lot for his decision to close the business last week.
"Since the city of Durham converted the parking lot across the street to paid-only, we have witnessed a decline in our business that we cannot sustain," owner Stephen DeCherney wrote on a sign posted on the doors of Market Street Coffee House.
The shop, at 714 Ninth St., closed sometime last week, about six months after city officials opened a 40-space lot on Ninth Street that charges $1 an hour to park.
"It does cut into how many customers they get because it's a deterrent," said Larry Wood, who represents the Ninth Street Merchants Association.
Still, Wood said, blaming the parking lot for having to close may not be fair.
"It's an easy thing to blame that rather than shifting your business to be competitive," he said, noting that DeCherney told him in an email that the shop had also been robbed twice recently.
Mark Ahrendsen, director of Durham's Transportation Department, said it was unfortunate that the coffee shop closed but said the metered parking lot is part of the long-term plan for Ninth Street.
"The city understands the concerns relative to this parking lot, but the decision to charge for parking was inclusive and meets the big-picture parking needs for this area," Ahrendsen said in a statement.
Between July and November, the city paid $34,375 to rent the lot but collected $3,820 in parking fees.
DeCherney didn't respond to requests for comment about the situation.
A new coffee shop and juice bar is scheduled to open in the space on Jan. 15.