Philz Coffee founder has message for customers on closure of their 1st San Francisco shop

"Philz Coffee is like a grandma's house. Full of love and passion."

Luz Pena Image
Tuesday, October 17, 2023
Philz Coffee founder's message for customers as 1st SF shop closes
The original Philz Coffee on 24th St. and Folsom St. in San Francisco closes Monday after the company decided not to renew its lease.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- For two decades, Philz Coffee has captured the hearts and mornings of millions across the country. On Monday, they closed the coffee shop where it all started - in San Francisco's Mission District.

"This is really sad. We actually rushed out of the house just to make it in time. Like we have to be there. It's sad but you don't see any of the familiar faces anymore," said Cher Soto, San Francisco resident.

This Philz location served their last cup of coffee at 1 p.m., marking an end of an era for customers like Cher Soto who grew up coming here as a teenager and years later as a mom.

"I love Phil. Personally I love Phil. We used to come and sit out here and he would sit on the bench and he would talk to my kids when they were little. He would give them advice," said Soto.

MORE: These 7 San Francisco Starbucks locations will close this month

Starbucks announced it will be closing seven stores in San Francisco later this month.

A spirit of community is what many like Carter Cromwell kept coming back for.

"Some of the other places that Philz has are really nice. They all brand new. They are all really nice. There is really no problem at all but this one just oozes atmosphere," said Cromwell.

After opening in 2003, Philz has expanded to over 60 locations with the majority in California and even though they are closing the first location, the business continues.

"We are just closing because we did not renew the lease. There is just a lot to do behind the lease and it made sense for us to not do it," said Chris Watts, Philz Coffee store lead, "While it's the original, the spirit is built from here."

Even though foot traffic was not the reason behind Philz closing this store, throughout the Mission District a lack of business leading to many closures. One of them is Cuban restaurant Media Noche. They are set to close at the end of this month after six years in the neighborhood.

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"The restaurant is like my home because I got to full-time, 40 hours in the week. It's almost my house. That's so hard," said Maria Mendez, Media Noche's chef.

According to the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, in 2022 San Francisco reported twice as many restaurant closures as openings and now, is not looking promising for many.

"Unfortunately it's that it's been really slow in that area. Particularly around Valencia Street. Sort of 16,17 and onward," said Laurie Thomas, Executive Dir. of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, "The restaurant owners we have talked to who've made those hard decisions to close has been a lack of sales. A lack of foot traffic. Less bar business contributes to that."

As many enjoyed the last moments at Philz original coffee shop, Cher made a call to bring closure to many. She called Phil. On speaker, Phil had a message for everyone:

"Okay everybody, I want to thank you all so much for your dedication and love to help us because Philz Coffee is like a grandma's house. Full of love and passion," said Phil Jaber, owner and founder of Philz Coffee.

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