Is there an appropriate gesture for a favorite shop that is closing?
April 14, 2011 10:54 PM   Subscribe

One of my favorite coffee shops is closing their doors after many years in business. I'm thinking of getting something for the proprietors to thank them for their many years of brightening my mornings with caffeine and conversation, but I'm not quite sure what would be appropriate.

I really will miss this coffee shop and the people who run it. I had thought that a gift certificate and a card for the three of them might be nice, but then I was wondering if a bottle of wine would be more appropriate and/or suitable for a wake. I assume that a Starbucks card would be right out.

Alternatively, is it just too weird? Maybe the last thing they want is a reminder, it's going to be difficult enough as it is on the store's last day in operation...
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit to Human Relations (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Alcohol is always a much appreciated gift. Think a great bottle of red that can be shared, like a barolo – assuming that the proprietors all live and dine together. Better yet, something that won't demand food to go with it, like a nice scotch. Can't go wrong.
posted by halogen at 10:57 PM on April 14, 2011

I think it's a lovely idea. You also can't go wrong with a framed photo of either the interior or the exterior of the shop. Don't worry too much about reminding them of their business...their lives will be filled with unavoidable reminders and it would probably be delightful for them to have something that lets them know that someone appreciated their work.
posted by corey flood at 11:03 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'd buy 3 coffee cups/mugs, emblazoned with a big 'Thank You!' or another appropriate phrase. Something they can use for years and years, and think of you every time they use it. (That's why I give my kids' teachers handmade Christmas tree decorations. I got a tree ornament 23 years ago from co-workers, and every year I remember them with pleasure when I hang it on the tree.)
posted by malibustacey9999 at 11:04 PM on April 14, 2011

Get them a thank-you card and have all your friends who've ever been there sign it. Then gather as many of them as you can, and present it to them in person when you all pay for your drinks.

But most of all, just showing up on the last day says a lot about how much you liked the place. Get pictures, like corey flood said.
posted by Heretical at 11:05 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'd go with wine.
posted by pompomtom at 11:34 PM on April 14, 2011

If people ever give me wine I go "Uh ... thanks" and re-gift it later because I don't drink. I like malibustacey's idea of a small keepsake. I have a few such things that remind me every time I use them of the people who gave them to me.

And, although it's the wrong time of year, I like the idea of a Christmas tree ornament too. Decorating a tree is often a remembrance, as each ornament is unwrapped, releasing its memory. There are many coffee-themed Christmas ornaments here.
posted by essexjan at 12:03 AM on April 15, 2011

It's not weird at all. It's a great thing to do. Everybody likes to be thanked for doing a good job. OK this is REALLY a cheesy idea but ... building on malibustacey9999's idea of coffee mugs, maybe you could take a photo of the exterior of the coffee shop and then have the photo transferred to a coffee mug. I made photo mugs with my kid's mug (haha) for Christmas for my in-laws. I think it cost about $5 per cup. Fill the mugs with candy, wrap with cellophane and a ribbon! That would be a neat memento of the place for them. And, a handwritten note telling them just what you said here would be really appreciated. You're nice to do this.
posted by Kangaroo at 3:51 AM on April 15, 2011

I like the idea of taking a really good photo of the exterior and framing it as a gift to them. If it's spring in your area and trees and flowers are in full bloom, even better.
posted by cooker girl at 4:58 AM on April 15, 2011

Why not a nice bottle of coffee-inspired Barista pinotage? I had a few glasses recently and was impressed. Or a nice selection of coffee beer or stouts.
posted by Lieber Frau at 6:26 AM on April 15, 2011

I like the idea, but don't get them coffee mugs. They probably have too many mugs as it is, from all of the people in their life who say "oh, you like coffee, here's a mug!"

You could send flowers to the shop. The day the doors close is not going to be the last day they are in the building, so a nice flower arrangement might brighten their days as they pack up their stuff.
posted by cabingirl at 6:37 AM on April 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

I don't think it's weird unless you go too big. (Buying them a car would be weird.) Either go with a generic gift like wine, a gift certificate to a local restaurant, a gift card, home-baked cookies, etc.; or buy them something small that is genuinely meaningful to you—your favorite book or album, something like that.

If you don't know people especially well, that's my usual tack for gifts: Rather than try to figure out what makes a stranger tick, either stay generic or else give something that is meaningful to you. As long as it's in the "small token" range and isn't lingerie or something political or religious, I don't think it would be weird for you to do. It's a nice gesture.
posted by cribcage at 6:56 AM on April 15, 2011

I'm a small business owner. If I was shutting my doors after years in one place, I would greatly appreciate a gift of a gorgeous photograph or piece of art depicting the place, whether it's the exterior frontage, or one of it in operation. This doesn't have to be difficult or expensive - just a nice black and white piece with a great message/card would suffice, and would be held dear for years to come.
posted by shazzam! at 7:29 AM on April 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Thanks for the suggestions, everyone!

I went by this morning and they had many cards and flowers. If the weather was cooperative I'd try to get a nice picture of the exterior, but it would figure that the last day was a rainy Stumptown mess.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:46 AM on April 15, 2011

I'd shoot it in the rain anyway. In fact, I think I'd rather see a shot of it through pouring rain than have the typical "pretty day" sort of photo. But maybe that's just me.
posted by heyho at 2:23 PM on April 15, 2011

My parents own a coffee shop which is an artist hangout, so they were often gifted with paintings and photos. There were some awesome paintings which capture the staff, a variety of the regulars, and the whole atmosphere, through really hilarious almost-caricature style painting. My parents LOVED those. So maybe find an artist who could construct something from old photos, and get staff and regulars to sit for the artist so they could paint them into the scene?
posted by 100kb at 2:30 PM on April 15, 2011

I ended up bringing along a nice bottle of scotch, which they really appreciated.

It should go well with a gift brought by another patron—gift certificates for a spa.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 5:59 PM on April 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

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