Downtown coffee shop closing

The cafe on the corner of Fifth and Monterey streets in downtown Gilroy has housed several different coffee shops over the years, as shown in this file photo. Most recently, it was "Dragonfly on Fifth."

Downtown’s only coffee shop is closing its doors at the end of the year. 

Philip Willis, 35, revamped the espresso bar on Monterey and Fifth Street formerly known Sue’s Coffee in February, renaming the java joint Dragonfly on Fifth and bringing a jolt of fresh ideas and exuberance for the coffee industry.

But Willis, a first-time food and beverage business owner, has struggled to keep the coffee shop open for months now, slashing the store’s hours in half and searching for a buyer to replace him. 

Willis never completed many of the projects he had in mind when he first opened, such as replacing the bright orange cafeteria-like chairs with comfortable couches and the grocery store tile floor with something more aesthetic. 

On Friday, Willis did not want to talk about the store’s pending closures, but he did say that he hoped that a buyer will come through in the next few weeks. 

Gary Walton, downtown property owner and downtown enthusiast said the loss of a central coffee shop is a big hit for Gilroy. 

“We need a good coffee shop. But Gilroy’s a tough place,” Walton said. 

Walton said with the right about of research and pizazz, a buyer could revive the closing coffee shop that has changed hands several times in the last 25 years. 

“We need a good operator. It would be terrible for downtown to not have a coffee shop,” he said. “Someone could do some homework and figure out what could work here.”

The key to a good coffee store, according to Walton’s research, is creating a comfortable, welcoming environment where people can meet old friends and make new ones. 

“Plagiarize what has worked for others. Look at Starbucks and Peet’s, emulate that, but put your own spin on it,” he said. 

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