At the end of September, The Sweetness, the ice cream shop located inside Fair Trade Cafe's First Avenue and Roosevelt location, shuttered after being open less than a year.
"It's not out of business. It is just homeless for the time being," says owner Jesse Robinson on The Sweetness' website. Robinson went on to give an explanation of what led up to the end of his business inside the downtown coffee shop and cafe. (You can read Robinson's post on the link below.)
See also: The Sweetness Ice Cream Shop Closed
That should have been the end of it. But seeing Robinson's explanation prompted an e-mail sent to me by Fair Trade Cafe, which claims its former tenant isn't telling the full story of what happened.
Robinson explained how he fell behind in payments to Fair Trade. "They decided they could no longer afford to carry the cost of me being in the cafe. And on Wednesday evening, they exercised their right to kick me out."
Hannah Lurie, communications director for Fair Trade, says it happened much differently.
"Jesse Robinson had actually sent a text message to the owner a few weeks before suggesting that he would like to move out of the cafe. The end of the partnership should have been of no surprise to him," Lurie says. "He mentioned on his website that problems began during the summer months, but in truth, we had problems long before that. We gave him various opportunities, including a very generous payment plan, to repay the cafe. He rejected all of our offers."
Lurie goes on to say that two of Robinson's explanations as to why he may have went out of business -- that July and August were tough months due to the heat and absence of ASU downtown students -- should not have been revelations, either.
Lurie says, "We are a small business too, and we also are hit by the slow summer months. In fact, all downtown businesses are affected by the summer. Schools are no longer in session, families go on vacation. There are just not as many people around."
One thing Robinson did leave out of his post is that, despite his company's exit, Fair Trade Cafe will still serve ice cream from Karen's Kreamery at both of its locations.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.