At a time of peak occupancy on Main Street, the Pendleton Coffee Bean & Bistro is packing it up.
“It is with a heavy heart that we have decided to close our doors. We appreciate and thank you for your support over the last two years!” reads a Facebook post and a note on the front door of the 241 S. Main St. business. The note is signed by owner Paula Dirks and “chef Chad.”
The Pendleton Coffee Bean’s closure represents a sudden end for a business with a winding journey on and off Main Street.
The Pendleton Coffee Bean started as a coffee shop in the Fraternal Order of Eagles building at 428 S. Main St. until 2007, when a fire gutted the building.
It reopened as a drive-thru coffee shop at 1803 S.W. Emigrant Ave. before making a move back to Main Street as a full-service restaurant and bar in 2015.
The Pendleton Development Commission made significant investments to bring the Coffee Bean back to the downtown area.
In 2014, the commission approved a $30,000 loan from its Jump Start program to help with some of the start-up costs of moving to a new space and expanding the menu.
After proving that the business had hired the equivalent of more than 10 full-time jobs, the Pendleton Coffee Bean obtained a $10,360 grant from the commission in 2016, utilizing a little-used feature of the Jump Start program that granted participants $1,000 for each new full-time job they create within the first year of their businesses’ operation.
Charles Denight, the commission’s associate director, said Pendleton Coffee Bean still owes $22,000 from the loan and the owner is required to personally pay back the balance as a part of the contract.
Denight said the commission would be amenable to restructuring the payment plan given the circumstances, but if all else fails, the commission can take back the furnishings and equipment the owner bought with the loan as collateral.
Dirks, Pendleton Coffee Bean’s owner, did not return a request for comment.
The Pendleton Coffee Bean’s predecessor at 1803 S. Main St., Kazi, also closed before paying off its Jump Start debt to the commission.
In addition to closing in 2014, the owner of the Korean barbecue restaurant, Judy Winn, filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy less than a year after opening Kazi’s doors. Due to the bankruptcy, Denight said the commission was unable to recoup the value of the loan.
Since last September, when the commission announced that Main Street’s storefronts were occupied at a 96 percent rate, the street has taken some hits.
Imaginarium, the 245 S. Main St. toy store that took the rest of the space Kazi left behind, closed earlier this year.
More significantly, J.C. Penney announced it was shutting off the lights later this year, putting an end to the department store’s 106-year tenure at 124 S. Main St.
Despite these setbacks on Main Street, Denight said other Jump Start loans have been successful, and the program is an overall plus.
He said that the commission’s Jump Start committee will discuss ways to further market the program and expand the radius of businesses eligible for it at a meeting Monday.