Sad news for coffee lovers in Detroit today as word comes via the Detroit News that Cafe Con Leche in Detroit’s New Center will close this Sunday.
The co-owner, Jordi Carbonell, says he’s going to focus on his coffee roasting business. The decade long run between the Southwest Detroit locations and the New Center location is impressive and had a community impact.
“Customers say that it was, in Detroit, a place for everybody,” said Carbonell, adding most customers were Latino, African-American and Caucasian. “… Everybody was saying you can’t find this kind of business in Detroit where you feel this connection between the three ethnicities.”
The article touches on a couple points in regard to the shop’s demise. One, the winters and the habit that office workers have of not leaving their buildings; and secondly, the challenges minority entrepreneurs find in accessing opportunities in the revitalizing parts of Detroit.
“If these new wave (of) businesses won’t … allow us to participate as suppliers, vendors to their businesses, then we can’t compete and remain part of the texture of Detroit,” wrote co-owner (and Jordi’s wife) Melissa Fernandez. “We will be priced out of the middle. We’ll end being an Oreo city.”
The commentary raises some important questions for the city. Are you a minority entrepreneur? Are you having trouble getting access to projects ran by newcomers in Detroit? How could those bridges be crossed? Leave your thoughts in the comments.