Editor’s Note: The original story previously stated Bibo Coffee Co. was a part of the Gateway Precinct. It is a part of the Capstone Development, which encapsulates Bibo Coffee Co.’s previous residency and private housing developments. The University does not currently own the land Bibo stands on.
Locally owned coffee shop Bibo Coffee Co.’s Record St. location closed its doors on Thursday, Oct 10.
The Bibo Coffee Co. storefront and other surrounding buildings are being torn down for new university-related development.
The shop had been on a month-to-month lease with the co-owners, Paul Martin and Debbie Spieker-Martin, since 2018. Spieker-Martin was given a one month notice to vacate the building once plans of new student housing development were finalized.
“Since we moved in, we knew that was sort of the vision for the property—the owners to sell it and make some money. But we’ve been here for almost ten years. It’s a private development company that does high end student housing, so it’ll be 600 student apartments. This whole block is being demolished,” Spieker-Martin said.
There are currently four other Bibo Coffee Co. locations in Reno, but there are no solidified plans to build any new shops in the near future.
“We have four other locations in place, we’re just keeping our ears open for something near the university, because that’s definitely a special community relationship,” said Spieker-Martin. “Right now we don’t have any plans, though. So short-term, no. Long-term, maybe. We just opened a location on West Street, it’s actually just a couple blocks down from Wolf Pack Tower. There’s a ton of study space there so hopefully we can build that into a little bit of a study spot.”
Employees of Bibo Coffee Co. and customers were encouraged to share their memories of the shop by leaving a note in the coffee shop journal or defacing the interior walls of the building with memories, messages or whatever they would like to contribute.
On Wednesday, Oct. 9, Bibo Coffee Co. hosted a send-off with food trucks and live music. The shop offered $4 craft beer and fifty percent off merchandise. The Holland Project and KWNK presented live music at the event, with many of the musicians being former students or employees of Bibo Coffee Co.
Dozens of Record St. location regulars came to the send-off to get a final drink from the coffee bar.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Rebecka Bethel said. “I’ve been coming here every day for a few years and it’s just been a home away from home, you know? All of my friends work here and we find a place to meet up here all the time. It kind of sucks that it’s not going to be here anymore, but that’s gentrification for you.”
Other Bibo regulars voiced their grievances regarding the closing at the going-away party as well.
“I’ve known that this location was going to close down for around a year now, but now that it’s actually happening it’s really sinking in, especially being here at the going away party,” university junior Karla Dominguez said. I’m going to miss having a place to go every day. This place just has a lot of heart and character and I’m sad to see it go. Dirty chais will never be the same.”
Braulio Claro, a former employee of the Record St. location attended the going away party to say his farewells to the shop.
“I’m really going to miss the people who come here. I’ve been working here for three years now. I’m a barista and also one of the gelato makers… I feel depressingly sad about this place going,” Claro said.
Since there are four other Bibo locations in Reno, the former employees of Record Street will be able to work at the other locations.
“We all work at all the locations but I feel like we’re losing probably the most important location to us as a community. No one’s going to lose a job over it, so that’s pretty awesome. But we’re definitely going to be losing a home in a lot of ways, especially like a hub for our community and a lot of different people that come here,” Claro said.
The demolition of Bibo Coffee Co.’s Record St. location comes after multiple discussions from university administrators to expand south of campus toward I-80.
University president Marc Johnson met with the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents on June 7 for approval of a Master Plan Update. The update detailed the university’s plans to construct a new College of Business Building, two Life Sciences buildings and a parking garage.
Construction is expected to take place in the summer of 2021, starting with the new business building and parking garage. Buildings are expected to be no taller than six stories, according to the updated Master Plan.
Kennedy Pine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @kennadypine.