Last week, Doug and Liz Davis posted a message to their Facebook feed. Their landlord had come to collect on debts the Davises had owed for years, and the time line was short. If the Davises didn't write up a check for more than $10,000, their beloved coffee shop, Murray Street Coffee, would be permanently shuttered the following Monday.
The post pleaded to longtime customers and anyone willing to listen, and set out to raise the funds through donations. There was a Tilt campaign set up by friends and customers could purchase of gift cards for coffee. It only took three days and they hit their goal -- Murray Street will live. But what lies ahead for the small Deep Ellum Coffee shop recently delivered from financial woes?
Doug says they've gone through a number of changes over the nearly 10 years the shop has been open. The shop used to be open on Sunday's, offered The New York Times, and other periodicals. They had DJs spin on the weekends and sold beer. None of these measures drew customers, though, and there were eventually phased out.
A lot has changed in the years since Murray Street opened, though, and Davis admits it could be time to revisit those old practices. The Wild Detectives hosts multiple events weekly, for instance, which have proven to draw customers. "If we need to revisit some of those past practices to appeal to a changing neighborhood, we can do that," Doug says.
The Davises are also looking at their equipment. A refrigerator was recently replaced, but "our espresso machine is getting tired," Doug says. He admits they won't be purchasing one of the $20,000 machines you see at many modern coffee houses, but they're going to work to purchase something that will let them "deliver the best possible product."
Really, the Davises don't want to change very much because they feel they've become an integral part of the neighborhood just as they are. Changing to court new customers could alienate existing ones leaving them further behind. Besides, their shop has been operating in the black for the past few years. The debt they recently paid off was accrued years ago.
So it looks like Murray Street Coffee won't be changing much at all. You can expect the same quirky coffee chop, with the same delicious turkey sandwiches and the same weird bunch of Deep Ellum customers you've gotten to know in the past.
Oh, and you can also be sure you won't ever be judged for your requests for sugar or cream.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, 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 Dallas with no paywalls.