After two and a half years of bringing bands, beer and caffeine to the western reaches of Athens, Hendershot’s Coffee Bar must vacate its Oglethorpe Avenue location.
Owner Seth Hendershot said the decision to move arose last week after six months of negotiation between the Hendershot’s and Transmetropolitan owners ended without compromise.
“Lawyers got involved, basically, and that should have never happened,” he said. “We should have sat down, talked it out. It’s as much, you know, on us as it is on them. We just couldn’t come to an agreement on the lease.”
When Transmet opened, it began leasing the Hendershot’s building from the Tweedell & Van Buren Oil Company, which owns both properties, because it needed parking spaces, Hendershot said. When the coffee bar came to town in 2010, the pizza parlor decided to share the space.
“When we came in, we subleased from them,” Hendershot said. “Everything [was] cool and amicable, and we were businesses helping each other out.”
With the three-year mark coming up, the coffee bar had new ideas for the agreement, Hendershot said.
“We tried to see if maybe we could just be on the lease and then, you know, rent them parking spaces,” he said. “Which would have been no big deal. We would have basically just kept going the way we were going — ‘cause it was working. But that wasn’t going to work out.”
Now Hendershot’s has until June 30 to find a new location.
“We’ve got a couple leads on a couple places that could be really great,” Hendershot said. “Nothing will match this place. It was really fun building it and being here and, you know, putting everything I had into it. But you know, we’re moving forward. We’re trying to stay positive and just, you know, make the best of a bad situation.”
Wherever it ends up, Hendershot’s will keep its distinctive atmosphere, the owner said.
“We won’t lose the vibe,” he said. “It’s going to go with us wherever we go. ‘Cause it’s us that makes it, you know. So we’ll be there working every day and all that. We won’t lose that sense of community.”