BIZNOTE: West Bay Coffee and Smoothies crowdfunding to stay afloat after weather damage

(Photo courtesy GoFundMe)

“I didn’t want to lose my business … I could not imagine closing.”

That’s why Jennifer West is going to drastic lengths, including seeking crowdfunding, to keep her independent drive-up/ride-up West Bay Coffee and Smoothies in business after weather damage threatened to end its 14-year run at 2255 Harbor Avenue SW.

The stand shares water service with the larger commercial building on the site. Pipes broke during the recent ultra-cold weather, West says, flooding the larger building. She says the property manager proposed just cutting off service, which would force her to move. Or, she could fix the lines affecting the stand, at her own expense. She also has no access to a restroom or storage in the main building. So she’s paid for the plumbing to her stand, a new porta-potty just delivered yesterday, and is working on a new storage shed.

All that costs money, so she launched a GoFundMe crowdfunding page this week. “It’s been a nightmare but we’re working through the logistics to try to remain open,” West tells WSB. As the synopsis on the crowdfunding page says, she’s already gone through a lot, as have so many businesses – “We’ve been through covid exposures, weathered ongoing supply-chain issues and enormous supply price hikes, while trying to keep everyone safe” – she can’t bear to throw in the towel now.

11 Replies to "BIZNOTE: West Bay Coffee and Smoothies crowdfunding to stay afloat after weather damage"

  • Emma January 12, 2022 (1:04 pm)

    Wow! What a lot to go through, hope she makes it. She sounds like a real problem solver.

  • newnative January 12, 2022 (1:58 pm)

    How is that legal for the property management to foist the burden of repairs on a tenant? 

    • ACG January 12, 2022 (3:56 pm)

      My question exactly!

  • Jennifer January 12, 2022 (4:02 pm)

     Hi there, Great question, my lease has expired and going month to month from here on out, I could just be closed in 30 days or find a way to make it work. This coffee shop is my baby of 14 years and I  wanted to find a way to stay open. The property owner was willing to leave the water on until the end of the month, to give me 30 days to vacate,  but the water was flooding out into the streets from the broken pipes under the building, causing the water department to come out and shut it off.  It was a huge mess, so I took matters into my own hands.  What else could I possibly do? I’m just truly greatful for my amazing employees, they truly rock!

  • Pamela January 12, 2022 (4:09 pm)

    We recently learned that it all depends on the lease – in a business situation the lease can state the tenant is responsible for these type of repairs.    It can be a shock when you are renting and your pipes freeze.   Hopefully they will get a second opinion from another plumber now that the freeze is over and perhaps the emergency charges will reduce.  

  • Rb January 12, 2022 (5:06 pm)

    You should move. Your baby may grow faster in another location. 

  • Dan January 12, 2022 (8:06 pm)

    One thing for sure. I’m heading to West Bay Coffee this week for a latte!

  • Vines January 12, 2022 (10:42 pm)

    This little shop brought me a lot of joy and delicious smoothies this summer. It’s such an asset in WS. No need to park. Friendly staff. Might be worth getting a signed lease before paying your own money to fix the pipes. I can’t believe the property owner has such little integrity as to throw their hands up and say they can’t fix the pipes. I wonder what the other tenants in the main building are dealing with? It looks grungy and poorly maintained. I hate when people who own property have little pride in it. 

    • alki_2008 January 13, 2022 (8:09 pm)

      There are no tenants in the building. The property is for sale to be redeveloped.

  • Aa January 12, 2022 (11:05 pm)

    I can’t imagine a commercial property owner just foregoing water service to their building. Good luck attracting tenants. And aren’t fire sprinklers required in commercial properties? I suspect the property owner is bluffing, just trying to get tenants to pay.

    • alki_2008 January 13, 2022 (8:10 pm)

      The property owner doesn’t care about attracting tenants. The building is for sale for redevelopment.

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