In the aftermath of a wildly successful social-media campaign that raised $120,000 as well as some eyebrows about its business acumen, Local Harvest announced this morning that it will close its downtown cafe.
UPDATE 11:04 AM: Patrick Horine tells Gut Check that the closure has absolutely nothing to do with Local Harvest's recent fundraising efforts.
"This is the decision we came to with Desco, our landlord. It's a decision we think is going to be best for us in the short term and in the long run, and its best for Desco as well," he says. As he wrote in Local Harvest's statement, Horine also says that catering operations will return to Tower Grove, where they began.
Local Harvest is looking for a new space for the catering business, though no deal has been reached at this time. He says there are no plans for another Local Harvest location at this point, but it's definitely a possibility in the future, presumably after it gets back on its feet.
"Right now we're actually just really looking forward to focusing on our core business there in Tower Grove," he says. "Things have been going really well -- very positive and business has been good at all locations."
Gut Check heard a rumor about the possible closure last night and put in a call at LH's Morganford Road location, which was not returned. Now an e-mail to the entire Local Harvest listserve confirms the news of the downtown location's demise:
Local Harvest Closing Downtown Café
Company moving catering operation to Tower Grove location
Local Harvest Café will be closing its café operation located in the Old Post Office building effective March 7.
The catering will now be managed out of LHC at 3137 Morgan Ford Rd. in Tower Grove. "This is a return to how we previously did business and the best decision for strengthening our core," said co-owner Patrick Horine. The space, located in the Old Post Office at 815 Olive, is managed by The Desco Group. Local Harvest was behind on the rent with The Desco Group and had been working with them to come up with a solution. "In the end, the best decision was to part ways. The Desco Group was great to work with throughout our 21 months in the space," added Horine. "We will miss our downtown customers and the beautiful space. It was an honor to be downtown, and we are excited to see the continued revitalization of downtown. After a very public fundraising campaign, we have to make the best decisions to insure that we will be around for a long time to come. This makes the most sense at this point. Again, we are grateful to The Desco Group for working with us through this. We know that, in the end, it will be good for our businesses. We look forward to welcoming some of the staff to our LHC location."
More as we learn it.