After almost six years of serving local residents coffee, lunch and community fellowship, Square Perk Café has closed its doors starting Friday.
Andrea Smith, the owner of the downtown Covington coffee shop, located at 1105 Church Street, simply said “It was time.”
Smith said she had been thinking and praying about the decision on whether or not to keep Square Perk open for months, and Thursday decided that the end of the month was the best time. She placed a letter on the two doors of the café and posted a note to the community, staff and public on the Square Perk Café Facebook page.
“Thank you so very much for your support for the past six years,” the post said. “We count ourselves blessed by all the friends and neighbors we have been able to meet and serve. Your friendship and support have been the best part of Square Perk.”
Since Square Perk opened Labor Day weekend of 2010, it has employed more than 125 part-time workers and served the community more than coffee, muffins and sandwiches.
“In the café, I’ve seen friendships rekindled, marriage proposals, people come to Christ, and a baby made there [the couple met at Square Perk, started dating, got married and had a daughter]. A former barista also met his fiancé there,” Smith said to the News. “I’ll miss the people, the customers, the friendships and the relationships. That will not fade or die.”
Friendships are what Smith had in mind when she opened the café, even keeping the tagline “Where friends meet” from City Pharmacy, the store which used to operate in that space. Smith said she wanted a quiet place to eat a quick lunch of a sandwich or salad or grab a muffin and a coffee in the morning without downtown employees having to leave the Square.
“There wasn’t a place to just run in,” Smith said. “I wanted to have a place we could gather.”
Many groups gathered at Square Perk, from business men and women to church groups and garden clubs. Those groups, along with many other customers, will have to find a new place to meet.
As of Friday afternoon the post about Square Perk’s closing on its Facebook page had 206 comments, mostly people expressing their gratitude for the café’s six years and sadness for its sudden closing.
“So very sad right now,” Deveny Seagraves said on Facebook. “Fond memories were made here, and I always loved stopping to get coffee, and how their cheesecake always hit the spot during my pregnancy.”
“A sad day in Covington Square,” Shauna Parsons said. “As a long-time customer and a former employee I’m deeply saddened by the news as the countless others before me posted. The Square Perk was much loved by many and will be greatly missed.”
Smith said she has no plans to open another café around town, and encourages her former customers to support other local businesses.
“I want to say to my customers, thank you for the support, for everything they’ve done for me, being a supportive community,” Smith said. “If you’re choosing between a local business that may be a little inconvenient to get in and out of and the convenience of a big box store, stay local and keep the money in your community.”