“It’ll be a loss for the community,” said Naperville resident Mark Kirincich. That’s how community members are feeling after hearing the news that longtime Naperville mainstay Harry’s Cafe will be closing.
Reason For Closing
The cafe, which has been operating at the 5th Avenue Train Station for 42 years, made the announcement on Facebook earlier this week.
“We were off for eight weeks while everything was shut down,” said Harry Buenger, co-owner of Harry’s Cafe. “We came back for a week, [but] were off another week because they closed the trains going into the city. We’ve been back for about three months now and we’re just not seeing any improvement in ridership and we’re not making any money being here so we have to look at other options.”
The last day you’ll be able to enjoy a morning brew from Harry’s Cafe will be tomorrow, August 7.
Customer Support Over the Years
Over the years customers have supported the Naperville business.
Last year, the cafe’s location was in question after the city approved an ordinance that inadvertently put Harry’s out of compliance. But after thousands of signatures on an online petition, the food truck was able to stay put.
“It’s indescribable,” said Kathy Buenger, co-owner of Harry’s Café. “I didn’t expect that much support and as far reaching as it was. It was very heartwarming.”
More recently, supporters have rallied around Harry’s again, as a GoFundMe for the business netted them nearly $5,000.
This morning most of the customers that grabbed a cup of joe weren’t even on their way to work. With the laughs and smiles across Harry’s face, it was hard to imagine he’d be closing down his longtime business in a day.
“When you have people that you do business with for 10,15, 20 years and they come to you every morning, you gotta be there with their coffee and a smile on your face, and I think that’s what brought a lot of people back,” said Harry. “I’ll be honest with you, I don’t have the best coffee in the world. I know that. But, I guarantee you I treat my customers as good or not better than anybody else would.”
The Buengers said they aren’t planning on returning to the coffee business and are on the job hunt now.
As Harry’s Cafe made their way home for the second to last time, one thing was clear, though they say goodbye to their business, they leave with something money can’t buy: lifelong friends.
“I made some really long-lasting friends being in this spot for as long as I had,” said Harry. “It’s just great we have our own little family here and it’s something I’ll never forget.”
For Naperville News 17, I’m Christian Canizal.
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