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Kew Gardens Cafe That Bowed Out of Franchise Closes Amid Dwindling Sales

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | January 24, 2017 3:34pm
 North Penguin Coffee and Crepe closed on Sunday.
North Penguin Coffee and Crepe closed on Sunday.
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DNAinfo/Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska

QUEENS — A Kew Gardens coffee shop that opened less than two years ago as part of South Korean chain Caffebene before turning its back on its franchise agreement and changing its name last fall, closed Sunday amid falling sales, the manager said.

Posters placed in the window of the store near the Kew Gardens-Union Turnpike station on the E and F subway lines and across the street from Queens Borough Hall informed passersby Tuesday that the location was "for lease." 

“We just couldn't make ends meet,” said the manager, who did not give his name.

The coffee shop, at 120-20 Queens Blvd. near 80th Road, first opened as a Caffebene in August 2015.

Last fall, the owner, faced with competition from nearby Starbucks, decided to include crepes in the menu, but Caffebene would not allow it so he decided to get out of the franchise.

He changed the name to North Penguin Coffee and Crepe and revised the shop's menu to include crepes, in addition to the variety of coffee drinks, desserts and sandwiches usually served by Caffebene.

The chain did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment.