A Cup of Joe: Shut Down by Corporate Landlords

A few weeks ago the peace calendar included a story about A Cup of Joe coffee shop in Salt Lake, a place where members of the activist community have been able to gather and hold events, and about the landlords threatening to evict it and other tenants from the Artspace building.


Since then, the inevitable has occured – A Cup of Joe is currently shut down, having been locked out by the landlords with its assets inside.

Below is an account and update from Eileen McCabe who is working closely with the owner of A Cup of Joe in this situation.  Please consider doing anything you can in support of this situation – a letter, a protest, a check to help cover expenses.  Contact info@utahpeace.org if you can do anything.  Most of all, please stand up to injustices that result in things like this happening in our own community.

Thank you to everyone who was able to attend the show of solidarity and protest against Artspace on Saturday night. I am so moved by the outpouring of emotional support that has driven the poets to compose new work about Cup of Joe, including my 14 year daughter, and 10 year old son.  My son performed for the first time on Saturday.  Misty River graciously provided sound equipment and her keyboard, and came up with the idea and supplies for the signs that literally stopped traffic. There were more than 50 people present, numerous newcomers, and we were able to educate numerous passers-by about the issues, and distribute flyers with Artspace and Evergreene contact information. $58 was taken in in merchandise sales, and Kristy graciously donated her share to the poets leaving for Madison for Slam Nationals.

We are all part of something larger than Cup of Joe.  We are discovering and deciding in our hearts what is important to us, and what we want in our communities.  Further, some of us have spoken up for the first time in our lives.  Once that threshold, that tipping point towards standing up and being counted has been crossed, a voice in the wilderness will never be silenced.  We are many voices, with newly found power.  Whatever happens with the locked doors at Cup of Joe, we are a community that will continue to exist and flourish, regardless of the  walls that temporarily shelter us.

It was disappointing that only 1 media outlet showed up on Saturday.  The Deseret News posted a short two paragraphs on the event.  Since they did not provide a story with the photos,  provide the story ourselves with our comments to the article.   I’ve included my own comments.  Those of you that took photographs, please provide links to your own photographs, so that the public has a chance of seeing the real story.

Here is another tool, provided to us, ironically by the slum-lord attorney that authorized changing the locks; the name, address, phone number and email contact info for the attorney himself.  Please contact him to express your opinion of his actions.

Kirk E. Cullimore
644 East Union Square
Sandy, UT 84070
801-571-6611 – phone
801-571-4888 – fax

Here’s a web address with a way to contact him by email

Kristy is in court, even as I write, and working on her next steps.  Send good energy out to her, and I will send out an update when I hear back from her.

This isn’t over, not by a long shot!


I called 10 media outlets early Saturday afternoon telling them of this event.  While I am very grateful to the Deseret News for sending a photographer to this event, given the 4 hours that the photographer was present for the event, shooting protesters holding signs, poets performing and writing, I am disappointed that the Deseret News chose to post only 2 photographs.  Given the impact of this issue to the neighborhood, and the legal ramifications of the landlord’s actions, I hope that more expansive coverage of the issue is forthcoming.  The closure on Saturday morning was not due to economic woes, but to the landlord taking advantage of a court error in a hearing filing.  The business equipment of Cup of Joe has been illegally impounded, and the owner is being prevented from earning a living. The owner, Kristy Gonzalez is in court as I write.

Update from court today:
Hi Everyone,

I just got off the phone with Kristy, and Fillmore, her attorney.

They have another hearing on August 19, on the “order of restitution” which deals with the money Kristy has paid to the court for the landlord, and with the bonds she has posted.  There was no action today on  re-opening the doors.

Fillmore is planning on filing a motion to allow Kristy back in to retrieve her property.  This could also take 2 weeks to be processed.  In the meantime, food is spoiling inside, Kristy is being denied the right to earn her living, and her taxes still have to be paid.

It has been suggested that the next step to expedite action on letting Kristy in to retrieve property is to picket the places of business of the members of the board of Artspace, as well as continuing to picket outside Cup of Joe.  These would include the Mark Miller car dealerships, Xmission, as well as the half dozen banks that provide funding to Artspace.  We could also picket the attorney for Evergreene and the Evergreene office.

If you would be interested in doing picketing, please let me know, and we can start to schedule shifts.  Both the rush hours are the best times.

When the doors are finally opened to let Kristy get her property, we will need folks to help with the moving.  This will probably be late in August;  I will send details as they come.

Thank you all for your love and support of Kristy during this difficult time.  In lieu of shopping at Cup of Joe, please give support to the other indy coffee shops in town, such as Addicted, Alchemy, Sugarhouse Coffee, Nostalgia, NoBrow and Cafe Marmalade, the temporary home for Salt City Slam.

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