Delray Beach’s Subculture Coffee closing brings out local loyalty

As Delray Beach continues its development battle of big business versus local loyalty, it seems a community staple has taken a hit, bringing residents out to show the love.

Today, after a two year-long battle with its landlord, Subculture Coffee – a part of the Subculture Group which houses other Delray hotspots, including Dada and Honey – announced the closing of its Atlantic Ave. location due to a rise in property values.

Built on the belief of “fostering a community of diversity and expression, one that brings soul to our city,” Subculture has become an integral part of the downtown community, even featuring other local businesses in its beer and treats selections.

The situation has spurred an onslaught of support from loyal customers promising to follow the business. On Facebook, sympathetic comments range from, “What a huge loss on the Ave.” to “Sending good vibes for your forever location! Atlantic isn’t what it was anymore!”

Other local businesses are also reaching out. Olivier Renaud, the owner of The Lavender on Second Ave., wrote, “We should meet and maybe find a solution to merge our two activities on my store.”

Photo by Alexis Paige
Photo by Alexis Paige

On Instagram, Darbe’s Barber Shop, which used to lease the same location as Subculture on Atlantic until rising costs also forced it to move twice, wrote an encouraging message, “Just wanted to reassure you that it is independent business owners like you (and me) that give that ‘Delray’ feel. Proximity to the Ave. does not matter if you continue to provide the same excellent service to your customers… Keep making great coffee, providing excellent service, your business will thrive.”

Subculture’s trial has residents wary of the city’s future. As suggested by the coffee shop’s message to patrons, this situation may be part of the domino effect of big business development. The cause being “corporate chains”, such as the Starbucks across the railroad tracks and the impending iPic Entertainment theater just south of Atlantic that small businesses cannot keep up with.

James Roth, a resident of Delray for 40 years who came out for the closing, says, “It’s unfortunate, but it’s a sign of the times. Small businesses like these are an endangered species.” He believes that although it’s sad to see, “it’s just a natural change” as Delray strives to compete among other towns economically.

Photo by Alexis Paige
James Roth | Photo by Alexis Paige

However, instead of focusing on what new names are coming to town, Subculture’s swift departure from The Ave is showing the community what may be lost: the “quality local products and services that Delray Beach is known for,” as boasted by Delray’s Downtown Development Authority.

Rest assured, while the coffee joint is looking to find its new place in the Delray area, you can still get your caffeine fix and show support by visiting the West Palm Beach location and getting involved in local government to protect the startup community that has been Delray’s claim to fame.

Alexis Paige contributed to the reporting of this story.

Featured image by Alexis Paige