According to this Eagan Patch article, the coffee shop which has been operating out of Wescott Library in Eagan is going to change hands from a privately owned business to a public enterprise following the admission that the original owners found they could not make the business financially viable.
From the article:
Last week, the Eagan City Council approved a joint agreement that will allow the city to operate the coffee shop/concessions business—which is currently owned and operated by entrepreneurs Tyler Liedman and Chris McLean. On Tuesday, the Dakota County Board of Commissioners also approved the agreement.
Liedman and McLean opened the café two years ago as part of a public-private partnership with the library. Although the business built a loyal following during its tenure at the library, the pair was was unable to make it financially viable, McLean said.
“It’s a job we both loved, but with what we were pulling in each month, it was hard to make it work,” McLean said. “it was always a really nice spot to be in … but we felt it was time to move on.”
There’s some silver lining for Dewey’s fans; McLean will remain on board to help operate the new café once the city takes possession of the shop on May 1.
Most people would probably believe that a library is not the best place for a coffee shop in the first place, especially one that’s tucked away in the corner of a library rather than taking a prominent place in the center of the building like Starbucks has at Barnes and Noble. Poor location aside, private businesses fail every single day in this country and spaces remain vacant for years at times. The surprising thing here is that the City of Eagan decided to take a business which was not financially viable and put its taxpayers on the hook for even more potential losses by taking it over. The City of Eagan should not be running concessions anywhere, let alone in this library where the private sector failed to operate successfully.
However, lets blatantly ignore the fact that the public sector should not be taking business away from the private and should make better choices as to which businesses it chooses to take over. Now after stripping away these issues from the discussion, let’s confront the elephant in the room: the fact that one of the people who managed the coffee shop poorly for the last two years is going to stay on after the City of Eagan takes over ownership and will continue to run the shop.
So, not only did the City of Eagan decide to put its nose in where it doesn’t belong and run private enterprise as a public one, but they’re going to keep on 50% of the people who couldn’t do the job the right way the first time instead of bringing in people who actually could run a viable operation. ONLY IN GOVERNMENT.
What do you think about this one? Should the City of Eagan get involved with this venture? Does a library need a coffee shop considering the limited hours they’re open? Are you concerned the City is going to keep on one of the previous employees to run the shop knowing they weren’t able to successfully do it with their own dollars? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear what you have to say.