BEVERLY — Hardboiled Coffee Co.'s cup is empty.
The coffee shop at 9135 S. Western Ave. in Beverly will close sometime around July 20, said Gregg Wilson.
The owner of the humble coffee house with a crime noir theme said the retail side of his business never materialized. When it came time to renew his lease, Wilson decided it was best to simply close.
"It's going the wrong direction," Wilson said. "I'm losing money every month. I'm going to personally run out of money if I keep doing this."
Wilson said the retail side of his business was down 11 percent in the first six months of 2015 over the same time period for 2014.
"I am mentally beat from this," said Wilson, who opened Hardboiled Coffee Co. in February 2013.
Wilson, a Beverly resident, began shifting the focus of his business more to wholesale coffee sales as a result of his sluggish retail environment in recent months.
His specialty roasted beans are now sold at several neighborhood spots including Ellie's Cafe, Horse Thief Hollow and County Fair Foods. He's also begun supplying some suburban shops such as Wolf's Bakery in nearby Evergreen Park and Fratello's Cafe & Deli in Homewood.
Wilson will keep this end of the business alive by moving into shared space with Horse Thief Hollow at 10426 S. Western Ave. in Beverly. Owner Neil Byers will give Wilson a small corner of the restaurant to roast his coffee.
The barista will roast coffee in the morning hours before the brewpub opens at 11 a.m. Retail customers will not be able to walk up to get a cup of joe — though that could change if the pairing goes well, Wilson said.
"Neil is kinda bailing me out," Wilson said.
Hardboiled Coffee Co. will take over a spot in the southwest corner of the restaurant that's being used for barrel storage. Wilson will pay a much cheaper rent and continue to supply Horse Thief Hollow with its coffee, he said.
The Beverly brewpub is looking to get into wholesale distribution, too, as Byers is planning to use the proceeds from a recent business award to test the larger market with his various specialty brews.
Wilson is hoping to piggyback with that effort to boost his own wholesale coffee business. The pair even kicked around the idea of changing the company's name to Hollow Grounds Coffee, Wilson said.
But before any of these things come to pass, Wilson needs to put an end to his longtime dream of owning a coffee shop. He thanked his loyal customers on Facebook on Wednesday evening, saying "there simply weren't enough people in that group to make it work."
Wilson believes he's done all he can to make his business a retail success. He estimated his investment in Hardboiled Coffee Co. at $100,000. And to keep costs down, he's the only employee, which means he hasn't had a day off in years.
Reflecting a bit on Thursday morning, Wilson admitted that perhaps his North Beverly location wasn't ideal. He also believes his business would have benefited greatly from having a drive-through.
None of that matters now. Wilson is simply hoping to sell enough coffee in his final days at the store to move his 20-pound roaster and clean up the tiny storefront without dipping into his own pocket.
"It would be nice to make some money in the next month because I'm going to have some moving expenses," Wilson said.
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