"Leasing complications" and a "weak economic climate" are being blamed for the sudden closure of Greenberry's Coffee and Tea, which will shut its doors for the last time at the end of business on Tuesday, Jan. 10.
Employees of , which has been in business on the Green in Morristown since 2007, were informed late Monday night that the cafe would be closing almost immediately.
Jason Czura, owner of the Morristown location–which is only one of two New Jersey locations for the Virginia-based franchise–issued a statement late Tuesday morning.
"As of Jan. 10, 2012, Greenberry’s Coffee of Morristown will be closing its doors for the last time," Czura wrote in the statement. "After being in business for over four years, we have had the privilege to befriend our loyal customers and grow to become Morristown’s neighborhood coffee shop. We got to know your personal stories, your family, friends and even your pets. We have hosted live entertainment on weekends, rotated exhibits of local artists and supported over 200 local churches, schools and non-profit organizations.
"Unfortunately, leasing complications and the weak economic climate is forcing our closure," Czura continued. "Greenberry’s would like to thank all of our customers for their loyal patronage over the years. We will miss the conversations and serving those in need of that morning cup of coffee to start their day."
Only store managers Lindsay Stavnes and Theresa Kearns will remain following Tuesday, to help break down the store by the end of the month.
"I just heard last night," said Stavnes, who has been with the coffee shop for three years. "It's devastating."
Given the sudden announcement (it was made so quickly, a product delivery order that could not be cancelled was being delivered Tuesday morning), employees were spending the entire day letting customers know about the pending closure.
employee Charlie Smith, a regular customer of Greenberry's, was stunned when Stavnes gave him the news.
"No. No way," he said. "That's crazy. How is that possible?"
Smith said he had become a regular to the business because it was so convenient, and said the coffee and tea were his favorites. "It's devastating. I can't believe it," he said.
Stavnes said Greenberry's, despite being part of a larger franchise, had become a large part of the Morristown community. She cited owner Czura's immediate effort when opening the location over four years ago, through active community involvement ().
"He made such a big effort to get involved," Stavnes said. "I think that set us apart from a lot of our competition."
John Eckstrom has been with the location since 2008. "This is sad," he said. "It's a small business that brings character to the town. The town is losing a very unique place."
Calvin Byer has only been an employee for four months, but joined after having been a longtime customer. "It looked like a fun place to work," he said.
But now, "I don't know what we'll do," Stavnes said. "It will definitely be a loss to Morristown."