Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Cup is Empty Now

The Cup in TOWN Brookhaven is closed.

Unlike some closures where the business announces the imminent closure weeks in advance, or closes for a "renovation," The Cup was forced to closed and was earlier today evicted by DeKalb County Marshall.

As many of you have noticed, ToNeTo Atlanta had been rather quiet for a few days.  I returned late last night from a west coast recon trip from which I will have a number of exciting new posts.  Sunday night, I was tipped off by a reader that there was something awry at The Cup.

The Cup was one of the first businesses to open in TOWN Brookhaven and was also one of the worst.  The cupcakes offered at this eatery were both small and overpriced for what you got, and in comparison to other offerings in Atlanta.

The Cup has also been a fixture on my DeathWatch for much of its existence, and it seems now perhaps it should have closed months ago.  On my most recent DeathWatch in March, I predicted The Cup could close by the end of April.  I contacted the Marshall's Office and according to a representative, "the closure was almost certainly due to non payment of rent."  Another possible contributing (but not verified) reason for the closure may have been failure to pay employment taxes.  Yesterday, April 15th, was of course tax day around the country leading me to surmise the closure may be tax related as well.

I made my way to The Cup around lunchtime today to find what appeared to be repo men loading FF&E (furniture, fixtures & equipment) into an unmarked truck.  There was assorted restaurant equipment in the street and on the sidewalk, a scene reminiscent of when Au Bon Pain was evicted in downtown Atlanta a few years ago.

Victor Ledbetter was the owner and "CEO" of The Cup and had some rather interesting words of wisdom for aspiring business owners that have dreams of opening their own shop.

In a July 22nd Yahoo Local article Ledbetter had this to say...

"My words of wisdom would be, have good credit, maintain cash flow, and know your business! Don't think because you have a good idea and a potentially good market, that it's a winner. You have to do a lot of research about your location, marketing, customer base, pricing, employees, etc to ensure that your good idea can make a profit."

Perhaps Ledbetter should have taken his own advice!

Interestingly there is no mention of the closure on The Cup's Facebook page, which for the record, was last updated April 4th, and since March 31st was being updated "near New York, NY via mobile."

The Cup had a rather mediocre rating of 2.5 stars on Yelp and was also previously featured on Scoutmob.

The Cup is now the fourth business to close in TOWN Brookhaven, joining fellow failures Slack's, Stir Crazy and Swirll. I've said before that The Cup was one of the most likely to close in the center, and with them now closed, I'd wager to say that Bonehead's and Treza are not far from a similar fate.

What were your experiences at The Cup?  What are your thoughts on TOWN Brookhaven?  Who's the weakest business in the center?


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

This place was no good. I gave them two chances and that was enough. As you say, the prices were too high on the sweets. But the coffee was badly brewed too and they didn't even have a good sugar/cream station for trying to make it drinkable. The staff was nice, though, and the interior design was decent.

They just didn't seem to know how to make a good quality coffee & pastry business with reasonable prices. Not enough homework.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we will get a decent coffee shop in there now- even if it is a chain. I would love Einstein or Brugger's bagels or Caribou to open in TB. Somewhere to get a good cup of coffee and a quick bite to eat while running errands at Costco and Publix.

Anonymous said...

Hey, sometimes I sense just a little too much delight from you when a business closes. And there’s a little too much boasting about your predictions. Frankly, it’s a little creepy. So, what’s the point in asking people to post about their experiences after a place has closed and moved out? Are you seeking revenge in some way?

To be clear, I never went into The Cup. I heard from a few friends it was not so great. I don’t buy expensive coffee. Cupcakes always seemed disproportionate of price and satisfaction. The owner of Cup and all the other restaurants that die have taken a significant risk and paid a dear price. There is no joy in that.

I have owned small businesses years ago. I was able to roll the first one into the second one, and I was able to sell it for a small profit. Neither was food, but I know how hard it is to be successful. From my point of view, it is sad when someone looses their money and dreams. It’s sad even if their cupcakes weren’t so good.

So how about you try to tamp down your ‘I told you so’ delight. Your blog is interesting. I appreciate your hard work. I hope the ad revenue picks up. But your negativity is a turn off. I’m not the first to comment about your snarky tone.

I believe a thriving restaurant community benefits all of us in many ways. I also believe there is a wide range of what diners consider to be worthwhile and satisfying restaurant experiences. Food and service that causes some diners to turn up their nose, will feel just right to others. A meal that seems a treat to some guests will seem like punishment to others. That’s just the way we are.

What if you used your blog to try to help restaurants? Next time you sense trouble at a restaurant operation, try soliciting constructive comments from your readers that you could forward to the management. Don’t encourage piling on with negatives; suggest instead your readers give the place a visit. A few good ideas from your readers might be just what a floundering operation needs to right itself and become successful.

Maybe we, the people who like to read of restaurants, would find more joy in trying to be helpful instead of dancing on their graves.

Thank you

Anonymous said...

Thank you to the poster at 10:25 pm. This blog is starting to become a turn off instead of something I get excited to read. And there seems to be a huge excitement over anything that fails at Town Brookhaven, in particular.

Anonymous said...

To Posts at 10:25 and 2:12....I think you are being a little too sensitive. Take these blogs at face value....The Cup closed - end of story. Go back and read your comments and see how whiny you sound.

Anonymous said...

I can deal with the tone, snarky, negative, or whatever, but I do think that this blog would be enhanced with dialog about how to improve restaurants, retailers, and other small businesses. For example, what if the DeathWatch had some ideas as to what could turn things around? Or, if a place is doing really well, tap the expertise of this blog to explain WHY you think it is doing well. My $0.02.

Atlantan99 said...

@Anon RE: replacement options,

You mentioned Caribou, but not Starbucks. I think Starbucks might actually have interest in the space whereas Caribou is exiting the market entirely over the next 12-18 months.

Thanks for the comment and for reading the site.

Atlantan99 said...

@Anon April 16, 2013 at 10:25 PM,

First off, thank you very much for both reading the site and for taking the time to draft such a well written comment. I can appreciate that you feel I take joy or whatever in seeing places close, and as I've said before, that is not the case at all.

The Cup was on my DeathWatch for a number of reasons and yes, its closure came as little surprise. But, was I cheering them on as they packed up all the owners' belongings or did I jump up and down for correctly calling their closure, no.

Other sites in town simply report news good or bad in a simple, often dull (IMHO) manner. I have chosen to give my blog a voice. That voice changes from positive to negative, up to down. That is my choice as the blog author and one that I hope you can repspect.

You mentioned advertising, something that yes, I'd like to have more of considering the time I dedicate to this site. As much as I'd love revenue, I see advertisers as limits to what can be said and published. The Atlanta Business Chronicle often spins stories based on advertisers and is (usually) careful not to offend anyone. Buckhead Life for one, is a big advertiser, and in turn, rarely has a bad word mentioned.

With respect to your talk about helping restaurants, something along those lines is in the works.

I understand and appreciate the time, effort and financial obligation that goes into opening a restaurant but quite simply, some people just shouldn't open restaurants.

I will also add that while yes, it would be great if this blog was dedicated to other positive happenings and encouragements, those posts generate little if any interest and some of the least viewed on the site. I write about cute neighborhood gems opening and no one cares, I write about the city wrangling with the owners odf a would-be fast food eatery, and everyone cares. That's just how it is. I write about what I've determined my audience wants to read about.

Once again, thank you for the time you took to craft your comment and for reading my blog.

Anonymous said...

Re: my earlier comment about Caribou - I don't care for Starbucks coffee, and there is already one at Cherokee Plaza. Dunkin Donuts gets my coffee business but I would love to have an option that has great coffee and decent food. Not that I don't love a good donut or muffin from Dunkin, but something with a larger menu would be ideal. If Starbucks takes the space they will no doubt be busy but I will not be a customer. In my ideal world we would get an Alon's or Cafe Intermezzo but since the likelihood of that is zero, I will hold out hope for something other than a Starbucks. Maybe Brugger's will consider it since they never opened at the Prado or Einstein since there isn't a location nearby. Goldbergs would be great, too, but again I can't see that happening.

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