One of the most charming shops in the neighborhood, Leaf and Bean, will be closing for good next month, after 39 years of selling coffees, teas, and everything to go along with them on Seventh Avenue between Berkeley and Union Streets.
"The lease is up, and we can't afford to pay the higher rent," said Karen Hue, who, along with fellow longtime employee Vikki Cook, took over the shop in 2003 after original owner Alan Mehlberg retired to Connecticut.
The shop opened in 1973, and many of the shelves and fixtures from the liquor store that had been there before remain to this day. Not only was it a place to find over 100 varieties of coffee and tea as well as gourmet items, gifts, mugs, kettles, and coffeepots, Karen and Vikki were warm, friendly presences who made every customer feel like an old friend. After my first visit there I left thinking that they were two of the coolest ladies I'd ever met.
But thankfully the story doesn't end here. "We're looking for a new spot in the neighborhood," Karen reassured me. "It'll be smaller, but it'll be even cuter. We even have a painter who's offered to paint a wall mural for us."
"It's been a great 38 years," she went on. "We made lots of friends, but we'll make lots more in the next location."
Owners Karen Hue and Vikki Cook