Greenhouse Café shuts down amidst struggling economy

The Greenhouse Café coffee shop has closed its doors permanently just after fellow local business Frosty’s Frozen Custard did as well.

Photo illustration by Kate Dodge

The building which housed Greenhouse Café is planned to be remodeled into a bar and grill restaurant. The original proposal was denied at the December commission agenda meetings. However a new revised proposed plan would be a topic of discussion at the February meetings.

City Manager Kevin Brunner commented on the change in business.

“It is the ebb and flow of business activity,” Brunner said.
“It’s sad to see the coffee shop close down since it has been a part of Whitewater for almost eight years.”

The coffee shop provided a relaxing environment where many college students could go to hang out, senior Rachel Bennett said.

“It was a fun place to just go catch up and chat with friends or do some homework,” Bennett said.

Junior Brandon Wiemann also said the café brought a calm and peaceful experience to the town.

“They always had great live musicians and a decent drink selection,” Wiemann said. “The place had a real cool vibe to the building with a bunch of comfy couches and recliners to just hang out in.”

Andy Carter said the café was a very laid back and casual work place for many of the employed students.

“There was always stuff going on that shop and it was probably one of the most fun jobs I have ever had,” Carter said. “Plus they always had live music on Thursdays which was always enjoyable.”

Vicki Fiedler owned the shop since 2001.

“She was a great owner and a real nice helpful person,” Carter said. “She knew how to run a business and always had a good grasp at what she was doing managing the place.”

The Greenhouse Café provided a unique experience compared to other traditional coffee shops.

“It was cool because it literally had a greenhouse in the café since it was also a flower shop,” Bennett said. “That definitely separated it from other sort of coffee shops.”

The shut down of the Greenhouse Café will force people to seek other alternatives to getting their coffee fix or just a new relaxing spot to hang out.

“It’s disappointing because it is one less spot to hang out in Whitewater and plus they had really good drinks there too,” Bennett said.

Carter said the closing of the café will leave an impact throughout Whitewater.

“A lot of people liked the place and enjoyed spending time there so I believe it will be greatly missed among the community,” Carter said. “I know I miss working there, not only my former employees but just the people in general.”

The closing of the Greenhouse Café will play an impact on many Whitewater coffee drinkers. However it opens a door to creating more business for existing local coffee shops.

“I feel the closing of the Greenhouse Café will improve business for both campus coffee shops and the Sweet Spot shop [located on the East side of town] because it’s really the only true coffee shop left in town besides the campus ones,” Wiemann said.

Brunner stated that the change from coffee shop to possible bar and grill restaurant is simply a business move the owners decided to make.

“There will always be places in Whitewater for people to get coffee but it’s just the business dynamics of things in a changing market place,” Brunner said.

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