Coffee Culture Cafe & Eatery has abruptly closed three of its stores in Western New York.
The Canadian-owned cafe chain has shuttered locations on Court Street in Batavia, on Sheridan Drive in the Town of Tonawanda and at the Walden Galleria. Another location, at 448 Elmwood Ave., closed in March.
Two other locations at 38 E. Washington St. in Ellicottville and at Bertrand Chaffee Hospital, Springville, remain open.
Patrons and employees of the Tonawanda and Batavia stores said company representatives showed up last week and locked the doors.
“They just closed in the middle of the day. Me and two other workers and our manager helped moved everything out,” said Megan Rader, an employee in Batavia. “Some customers were still there.”
Rader was hired just a few weeks ago and said the store was fairly busy with catering orders and regular customers.
“They gave no warning whatsoever. He just came in, put the sign up, locked the doors and started cleaning,” she said.
She noticed things weren’t right earlier in the week when the store’s cable TV got shut off and there were problems with the phones.
“He just stated that he was sorry and that Western New York just wasn’t working out for them,” Rader said.
Coffee Culture officials could not be reached to comment.
The company launched its U.S. expansion on Main Street in Williamsville in 2009. That first location was supposed to serve as a training hub for local operations and received $10,718 in sales tax breaks from the Amherst Industrial Development Agency toward renovations it made to convert the former Sweet Jenny’s ice cream parlor into the cafe.
The company originally had plans to open as many as a dozen stores in the region. The Williamsville store closed in April 2014.
Its website lists five locations in Florida and solicits new franchisees there. The company also has about 50 locations in Ontario and Manitoba. It is headquartered in Mississauga, Ont.