Coffee at the Point won’t be coming back after all.
The coffee shop at 710 E. 26th Ave. in Denver’s Five Points will not reopen, owner Ryan Cobbins told BusinessDen Tuesday.
Coffee at the Point opened in November 2010 and last operated on July 31, but Cobbins had previously described its closure as temporary. As recently as November, the shop said on Facebook it would reopen soon.
The decision to permanently close comes 10 months after the shop was sued by Denver-based The Flyfisher Group, a firm that owns Five Points real estate and has invested in multiple businesses there, including Coffee at the Point.
Flyfisher, led by Matthew Burkett, alleged in its lawsuit that Coffee at the Point had failed to follow through on an investment agreement reached in 2020. As part of that deal, Flyfisher took an ownership stake in the coffee shop, and Cobbins was tapped to help run Flyfisher’s new restaurant division.
On Tuesday, Cobbins said the coffee shop might still be open if it wasn’t being sued by Flyfisher. But he said there were also other factors at play, from the city’s increased minimum wage to higher ingredient costs (“It’s hard for me to increase prices on customers who are already feeling it everywhere they shop”) to the difficulty of finding employees who wouldn’t come in late or leave early.
“It’s a compounding effect,” he said.
Cobbins, 46, also noted he has three daughters — ages 11, 9 and 6 — and said he got divorced last month from the woman he married in April 2010, just months before the shop opened.
“It’s not the shop that did it — it’s me that did it — but I prioritized the shop over a lot,” he said.
“They couldn’t care less whether or not Dad owns the coffee shop or not,” Cobbins said of his kids.
Cobbins said when Coffee at the Point closed at the end of July, he meant it at the time when he said the business would reopen. But he said subsequent reflection made him realize the decision wasn’t driven by what he wanted.
“Five percent of that was me,” he said. “The other 95 percent was the emails, texts and calls that I received from other people.”
In the fall, Cobbins raised $13,185 through a “Help Reopen Coffee at The Point” campaign on GoFundMe. He said that money has been spent on rent and vendor expenses.
Cobbins said he didn’t even drink coffee before opening the shop, which he intended to be a gathering space for the neighborhood.
“I’ll be around to help champion Five Points along,” he said of his future.
Cobbins said he doesn’t know for sure what the shop’s closure means for the litigation, which remains ongoing. He said he asked Burkett for months to tell Cobbins what he wanted out of the litigation, and that finally happened in the fall.
Cobbins said Burkett wanted him to pay back $28,000 that had been given for a 40 percent stake in Coffee at the Point, and to pay another $20,000 or so to cover Flyfisher’s legal bills. He said Burkett also wanted him to sign a non-disclosure agreement.
Cobbins said he initially intended to accept the terms, but ultimately decided not to.
“The repayment structure is unrealistic,” Cobbins said. “I’m not signing an NDA.”
Cobbins said he felt the proposed settlement didn’t account for his efforts overseeing Flyfisher’s launch of restaurants like MBP and Mimosas.
“I spent two years working like crazy for him,” he said.
Burkett, who has also been criticized by other Five Points business owners in recent months, didn’t respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
Cobbins said he spent years looking up to Burkett, whom he considered a friend. One of the hardest parts of the litigation, he said, was realizing he didn’t want to be the same type of businessman as “someone I studied.”
“How he builds it is just different than how I would ever build anything,” Cobbins said.