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Sunshine blamed for Midnight Sun closing

The Midnight Sun Coffee Roasters is closing up shop at the Canada Games Centre on September 30th.The reasons are contentious.

The Midnight Sun Coffee Roasters is closing up shop at the Canada Games Centre on September 30th.

The reasons are contentious.

Owner Zola Dore blames the closing on internal finances within her roasting company as well as decreasing membership during the summer months.

“I think in the end, the final decision was just the lengthening of what we call the downtime,” said Dore, referring to the summer.

“So as oppose to three months in the first year, it was four months in the second year and five months in the fifth year. The time we were losing money was extended,” she said.

Projected numbers as to how the company would perform in a recreational centre were compared to facilities in the South, said Dore. No one predicted Yukoners’ strong affinity for sunshine, she added.

“We have very unique issues up north, like everyone wants to be outside in the summer,” she said.

But membership during the summer went up in the last few years, said Tammie Hennigar, marketing and sponsorship specialist with the Games centre.

“The numbers we have are actually up each year,” said Hennigar.

In July of 2006, 700 people walked through the centre’s doors. That number jumped to 900 in 2007 and went up again to 1200 this past summer.

The difference between the May to June period this year and 2007 is an increase of 42 per cent, said Art Manhire, associate manager of indoor facilities.

After being told the centre’s statistics, Dore said it simply didn’t translate into more coffee being sold.

“However they’re counting, it’s not showing up in our numbers,” she said.

Dore was approached to operate a coffee counter in the centre six to eight months before it opened, she said.

“There were issues with the lease going in, but they wanted someone in there,” she added.

“There were clauses to be tightened up.”

Negotiations over the lease agreement continued until this summer, when a final leasing proposal was presented.

Originally it was Dore who decided on the leasing price by looking at how coffee vendors and similar businesses performed in recreational centres, said Hennigar.

“What we do with all our leases is a request for proposal,” she said. The process comes to a price by analyzing the local market with the experience of similar ventures.

“What it’s based on is a fair-market rate,” she said.

However, Midnight Sun is still suffering fallout from a fire that ripped through its original location at 4th and Black Street in November 2005, said Dore.

Zola’s Cafe Dore, also owned by Dore, closed in May of this year.

The Midnight Sun will retain its coffee roasting facility on Quartz Road at Icycle Sports for the time being.

Hennigar says a new request for proposal process will begin after the Midnight Sun leaves the Canada Games Centre.