‘It was a good run’

After nearly 14 years, Espresso Royale closed.

Owner Dan Zielske began warning his staff in December that the Washington Avenue Espresso Royal  was likely to shut down due to increased rent. The small space at the location hindered the shops ability to increase coffee sales along with the increased rent.

Paul Bangasser

Owner Dan Zielske began warning his staff in December that the Washington Avenue Espresso Royal was likely to shut down due to increased rent. The small space at the location hindered the shops ability to increase coffee sales along with the increased rent.

As of last Friday, Espresso Royale customers have had to find a new place to grab their morning coffee and cappuccinos. After 14 years of business, the 614 Washington Ave. location is now closed. With increasing competition for Stadium Village coffee drinkers, sales at Espresso Royale did not keep up with increases in their rent. Store owner Dan Zielske said he chose not to renew Espresso RoyaleâÄôs lease to the property when it ended this month. âÄúIt was a good run,âÄù Zielske said. Zielske said he thinks the storeâÄôs difficulty in increasing its sales arose before the economic crisis. âÄúLooking back into the early âÄò90s and early 2000s, if you think about that whole stretch of Washington Avenue, it was just us and Espresso Expose,âÄù Zielske said. But given the more recent competition âÄî including two Starbucks Coffee locations, Java City, Dunn Brothers Coffee, Caribou Coffee and Brueggers âÄî Zielske said the store did well staying open for so long. âÄúThis always said to me, âÄòpeople who found us really love us,âÄôâÄù he said. Zielske founded MinneapolisâÄô third Espresso Royale on April 1, 1995. When the store first opened, he said he thought of the store as a little kiosk with walls. âÄúRight off the bat, people didnâÄôt want it to just be a kiosk,âÄù he said. Due to the small space âÄî a mere 265 square foot lobby area âÄî Zielske assumed most orders would be âÄúto go,âÄù so he started with only paper cups. But when customers started to stick around, he had to bring dishes from the Dinkytown location. âÄúPeople didnâÄôt want to go, they wanted to hang out and they wanted to create this space,âÄù he said. Zielske said monthly rent used to cost $2,200 but increased to $2,400 as of Jan. 1. He said the small space hindered their ability to meet the sales they were striving for. âÄúWe could only fit so many people who really loved us in there at a given time,âÄù he said, Zielske said he began warning his staff in December that the store was likely to close. He said he placed four of Espresso RoyaleâÄôs employees at the Dinkytown and Hennepin Avenue locations that he also owns. Of the two remaining employees, one took another job and the other is picking up available shifts. Brianna Bowne was one of those employees who relocated. She now works at the Hennepin Avenue location. âÄúI liked the regular customers,âÄù Bowne said about the Stadium Village location. âÄúYou look forward to seeing what they are doing and how they are doing.âÄù Elio Montermini , who owns the complex where Espresso Royale was located, said he could not disclose what business will be moving in next.