Last week I sent out an e-newsletter in which I profiled some great small business stories. These were stories of the City helping to solve small but significant problems experienced by small businesses in different parts of the city. One of these quick bits told of a café in the Othello neighborhood that was avoiding closure thanks to community advocacy and a local lender. The café is in the ground floor of a new apartment building at the intersection of S. Othello St. and Martin Luther King Jr. Way S. Deo Valente opened 17 months ago and became a warm community café in an area lacking in “third places.” Located at a light rail station, it could be your coffee stop in the morning or your dinner spot in the evening.
Both fortunately and unfortunately Deo Valente was a pioneer and the going can be tough for pioneer businesses. As I noted in the newsletter, they had a tough time making monthly payments and they fell significantly behind, a little deeper month after month.
Recently the building owners decided they wanted to sell the building and that a tenant behind in payments would be unattractive to potential buyers. So, Deo Valente found themselves on the receiving end of an eviction notice. It sounded last week like they might be able to work out financing with a community lender, but this week things took a down-turn. Any hope of a deal keeping the café open at Othello Station fell away today when Deo Valente emailed supporters to say they’d be closing Saturday with hope to re-open in the area some time in the future.
My condolences to the Deo Valente owners, staff and supporters. Starting a small business involves a lot of heart and hard work. Deo Valente’s owners and their Othello community supporters created a special place. I hope to see them do it again soon.
To All Our Wonderful Customers,
We will be closing the doors to Deo Valente Café at the end of business on Saturday July 13th. It has been a challenging process to work through but we could not see our level of business increasing enough to warrant further investment. We have agreed with the Landlord to terminate the lease and vacate the space. An agreement gives us the opportunity to look toward moving forward with community and city support to opening a new venture in the Othello neighborhood.
We have learned so much through this time, heard many great ideas and suggestions and after we complete our move out we are looking forward to exploring a new venture. Another thing we learned is that Othello is a neighborhood full of wonderful, caring and amazing people. Thank you so much for sharing moments of your lives with us at the café over these past 17 months.
We will continue to keep you updated as new plans develop so stay in touch with us through our Facebook posts and emails.
Thank you for so many good memories, we will miss you and look forward to seeing you again in the neighborhood.
Rob and Carla – Owners
Our Daughters Alyssa and Melissa
Current and Former Staff
Deo Valente Cafe