Carol’s Hungry Mind Cafe announced yesterday that they would be closing imminently due to an unprecedented increase in business throughout the month of July. The beloved local coffee shop had been having financial struggles for the past few months, but the large increase of customers finally pushed the store over the edge.
In an interview about the closure, owner Bob Richardson said, “We’ve been struggling with a lack of business for a long time, but now the volume has really just grown too much. Our cappuccinos used to be three parts espresso, one part water. Now things are going so well, all I can do is pour milk in a mug and hand it to whoever comes up to the counter.”
Even before the boom began to take an obvious toll on the quality of service, customers felt ambivalent about the uptick in business. The Carol’s they knew had begun to change, and many thought for the worse.
“I know I want Carol’s to be around for a while, but I didn’t want it to be this successful. I miss the sluggish atmosphere and dust motes––they helped me when I was creating my next book or collection of poems,” said Middlebury College English Professor Duncan Colebridge.
“It’s hard to say, but I guess I miss the Carol’s we’ve always had – the one that was slowly failing.”
Carol’s attributes their increase in traffic to an ingenious decision by the marketing director, also Bob Richardson, to post a sign in the upstairs bathroom which reads: “Don’t let Carol’s close, pay $2/hr to sit and enjoy the atmosphere.” The suggestion was well-received by customers, who loved the idea of paying $2 to hang out in the dingy space, in addition to the $5 they normally pay for a watered down latte.
“When I heard there was a coffee shop that charged for you for food and to sit, I just had to check it out,” said local resident Erica Sauzo. “I just can’t believe no one else has thought of this before, it’s such a brilliant money-making scheme.”
Sauzo also added that she was really taken by Carol’s decision to host several Kickstarter campaigns to raise funds for the business. “I’ve never heard of any business that would try that – what a bold stance against capitalism. I’m totally into it.”
Unfortunately, Richardson revealed this most recent Kickstarter campaign was part of the problem – it went so well that the funds, in addition to the crowds, helped overwhelm the business. In the wake of this regrettable news, residents can only hope that this most recent announcement will be but a minor blip in the seemingly endless life of Carol’s Hungry Mind Cafe.