One week later: Highland Coffees is all right

Clarke Cadzow’s current go-to word is “relief.”

The owner of Highland Coffees says he’s relieved that the lease negotiation process is now behind the local business.

“From my perspective and the perspective of my staff, now we can focus 100% on running the shop,” Cadzow says.

Last week, the community and Cadzow started to rest easier when the announcement came that the beloved North Gates coffee shop would remain open despite earlier reports of its potential closure. Once locals heard the shop might be closed, a petition was created, garnering more than 5,000 signatures, turning heads and putting pressure on the building’s owner, Hank Saurage, to reopen negotiations with Cadzow so Highland Coffees could remain on Chimes Street.

Cadzow says the lease is “nice” and “long-term,” and he’s looking forward to the future of the coffee shop. He says his customers are relieved, too.

“They’ve all been coming up to me with big smiles on their faces,” he says. “I’ve been getting lots of hugs.”

Though it wasn’t known at the time of its planning that the shop would remain open, The Highlander Music Festival last weekend further propelled Highland Coffees into Baton Rouge’s incessant corporate vs. culture debate, showing off eight hours of local musicians in a well-attended replacement for the shuttered North Gate Fest.

“I was blown away by how good the music was,” Cadzow says, crediting the music festival to the group of young women who organized the event, which included Lauren Cross and Ashley Monaghan. “They really had their finger on the pulse of local music and did a great job with it.”

When visiting Baton Rouge, BBC’s Pop Up news team also compiled a story on Highland Coffees. Read the story and check out BBC’s video here

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