Students mourn loss of Second Cup

Spring Garden Road location shutting its doors Dec. 31 after 18 years downtown

This story has been updated since initially published.

Second Cup on Spring Garden Road is closing after 18 years in the downtown area. (Photo: James Jenkinson)
Second Cup on Spring Garden Road is closing after 18 years in the downtown area. (Photo: James Jenkinson)

Students will need to find a new favourite coffee shop in January when Second Cup on Spring Garden Road closes after 18 years at the same location.

Nestled below ground with a perfect view of people watching, Second Cup is closing its doors for good on Dec. 31 when its lease runs out.

More than 20 staffers, several of them students, found out about the impending closing in mid-October. Management has promised to give recommendations for people when they do start looking for work, be it at another Second Cup or elsewhere.

“I was just about to give my two weeks notice,” said one staffer, who plans to return to school.

“They gave us 10 weeks notice though. That was really good of them,” adds another.

Staff are citing high rent and costly expenses, including constant repairs, for the chain’s decision to close the store.

Tom Zacharias, Second Cup vice-president of operations, denies that the cost of maintenance was a key factor, citing the location’s financial history as being the main reason for the decision.

“This difficult decision was made as a result of the financial performance of this café over the past 24-36 months,” he said in an email.

It isn’t surprising to some long time patrons, who have gotten used to the buckets catching leaks and cold air drafts, that the cost of upkeep is one of the reasons for closing.

There are currently no plans to relocate or replace the downtown location.

Unlike the other Second Cups in Halifax, the Spring Garden location was the only one that was not a franchise.

Here are the other Halifax locations.

Second Cup was largely popular based on its comfortably atmosphere but, compared to newer options like the Starbucks across the street, the charm was wearing thin.

Some hope Second Cup will put a bid in to operate within the new downtown library, although no plans for this have been announced with the library still a year away from opening. Others are still finding out about the closing.

“I’m a regular and I overheard a couple of the employees talking late at night saying it was closing. I was heartbroken,” says Will Musgrave, a fourth-year student from the University of King’s College.

“Oh my God,” says Bridget Stevens, a first-year student from Saint Mary’s University. She didn’t know until she was asked.

“It’s disappointing because I know a lot of people come here to study,” she added. ”I love the atmosphere here. I get that costs can be a problem but it’s still disappointing.”

“I’ve been coming here for two or three months, since I came to Canada,” says Yuri Lee, a first-year student at the Nova Scotia College of Early Childhood Education, “There weren’t any Second Cup’s in my country. I like it though, it’s huge and there’s always a seat left.”

Others have taken to social media to talk about the closing, which was reported briefly in the Coast and in the Chronicle Herald with news that the Just Us! on Barrington was closing as well.

Staff were given 10 weeks notice but, with about six weeks left, many of the regulars are still in the dark. Here is some of the early reaction.

Update: Nov. 19: Second Cup Vice President of Operations Tom Zacharias replied to questions emailed to him the previous week.

 

 
 

4 thoughts on “Students mourn loss of Second Cup

  1. This Second Cup was super memorable in my few and limited trips out to Nova Scotia. I probably would have gone back next time I was out east, but now I guess I won’t be able to. How disappointing.

  2. No mention of the union drive at both Just Us and Spring Garden or interviews with the union organizers for comment?

    1. Hey there, sorry for not replying to this sooner! Because the story was more centered to Second Cup and management really didn’t want me speaking with staff, it never came up.

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