(Steady business is shown at Aptos Coffee Roasting in the Rancho Del Mar Center. The long-standing business has been asked to vacate by Aug. 31. Photo by Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian)
APTOS — A little more than three decades after opening in Rancho Del Mar Shopping Center, Aptos Coffee Roasting Company will be closing.
Owner Bronson Baker made the announcement Thursday on Facebook.
According to Baker, Terramar Retail Center LLC, which owns the property, declined to renew the business’ lease. It now has until Aug. 31 to vacate the building.
The news came via a letter dated July 22 by Raffee Law Group, which represents Terramar Retail Center.
In the letter, attorney Jill Raffee said that the business’ long-term lease expired in March 2015 and that the business has since been running on a month-to-month agreement.
“As such, it is terminable by a 30-day notice to terminate,” the letter said.
Audrey Rhoads, a spokeswoman for San Ramon-based Terramar Retail Center, confirmed that the business’ lease was not renewed, but declined to comment further.
Rhoads also declined to comment on which business might replace Aptos Coffee Roasters.
In his post, Baker said that he told TRC that he wanted to remodel the store, but asked for a “reasonable” lease to help assure his investment would not be wasted.
The company did not respond, Baker said.
“I tried for a renewed, remodeled vision of the best possible Aptos Coffee Roasting but was never given a chance to even negotiate,” he wrote.
Baker, who also owns Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting Company along with his family, was unavailable for comment Friday.
Baker’s daughter Sarah de Sousa, who ran Aptos Coffee Roasting Company for six years, and became the public face of the business after her mother died in 2006, said the announcement left owners and employees reeling.
The business, she said, has become a mainstay for coffee lovers across the county.
“It doesn’t reflect the values of our contributions to the community, our brand and the place we hold as a landmark in Santa Cruz County,” de Sousa said.
Baker said that she hopes the business can relocate.
With such short notice, however, such a move would be a difficult feat, she said.
“Thirty days is almost like a death sentence for a small business,” she said.
Nearly 200 people have left comments since Baker posted the announcement on Facebook, expressing their dismay of the loss of the mid-county mainstay.
“I will say this, it is a sad day in history that this location will be anything other than Aptos Coffee Roasting,” wrote Kathleen Minafo. “It was hands-down the best espresso I ever had anywhere.”
Brittany Weeks wrote that she goes to the shop every weekend with her tutor for help with her math homework.
De Sousa said that many customers have vowed to contact TRC to lodge their complaints.
“At the end of all this I’m still optimistic,” she said. “There has been a groundswell of support in the last 48 hours that has been heartwarming and validating.”
De Sousa added that the business has weathered the past 30 years, along with such calamities as the 2006 death of her mother and company matriarch, and the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake.
She praised the employees, some of whom have been with the business for decades.
“We're extremely resilient people,” she said. “I really feel that we’re going to find our way through this.”