Brian Baily had run Gloria Jean’s Coffees in Ocean Keys Shopping Centre for about eight-and-a-half years when the company’s head office decided not to renew its lease.
In his final week, Merriwa resident Julie Macfarlane, who had been a regular at the caf� since it opened, started a petition to keep it there and gathered about 700 signatures.
‘It was a really good atmosphere ” Brian would come around and sit with you and chat,’ she said.
Mr Baily said he was given two months’ notice and sold equipment and stock on August 23. He also offered customers a final round of free drinks the day before.
‘We didn’t know how much we were appreciated,’ he said. ‘I’ve got people who came here every day ” I didn’t realise how important it was to them.
‘I have built up a whole heap of people who will remain friends.
‘My message to my staff is you don’t know the difference you are making in people’s lives just by being yourself.’
Mr Baily said he realised over the years ‘guests’ would come to the caf� for things they didn’t pay for, with many popping in to show off baby or wedding photos.
Ocean Keys marketing manager Victoria Hansen said the Gloria Jean’s head office made a decision not to renew its lease some time ago.
‘A new cafe, Shingle Inn, is scheduled to open in the site later this year,’ she said.
Gloria Jean’s Coffee head of operations Glenn Hindson said a combination of environmental factors and business conditions meant certain locations were not viable at certain points in time.
‘This is exactly the case with our Clarkson coffee house (but we) hope that in the future, we may be able to return to the Clarkson community,’ he said.
Mr Baily said he would look at opening coffee shops farther north, in Butler, Yanchep or Two Rocks.