Logan Patterson, 73, has lived in Boulder since 1995. When he arrived, he built cabinets for a local furniture maker, where he got a taste of entrepreneurship. He decided to venture into business himself, choosing the world of coffee. “It felt like something I could do,” Patterson said.
So in 2002, Patterson spent his life savings to open his own coffee shop, Logan’s Espresso Cafe, with some financial support from friends.
“At the age of 50, I risked everything I had,” Patterson said.
For months, he put in 12-hour days, every day. He built the cabinets behind the counter and installed the floors himself. “I got my heart and soul in here,” he said.
Over the years, Patterson developed not only the inside of his store, but a community hub in a shopping center in North Boulder, anchored by Lucky’s Market.
“My customers love me. They’ve watched me build this place. It’s an absolute neighborhood treasure,” Patterson said. “We have people who walk here every day and have for years. It’s a meeting place for people.”
This is why he, along with his customers and employees, were devastated to learn about Logan’s Espresso Cafe’s uncertain fate.
In late April, Patterson said his landlord, John Conis, stopped by the cafe and told him he wouldn’t renew his lease at the end of the year. Patterson said Conis also didn’t renew the lease of neighboring Cilantro Mexican Restaurant, which has moved out of the shopping center.
After 21 years, Logan’s is now slated to close and vacate 3980 Broadway by Jan. 1, 2024.
“He’s given me numerous conflicting reasons for why he’s not renewing my lease, so I’m not really sure why,” Patterson said.
According to Patterson, Conis told him another shopping center tenant wanted to expand into Logan’s. Conis also said coffee shops are going downhill, and Logan’s wouldn’t be able to afford rent, according to Patterson. Another reason supposedly given was that Logan’s was too successful and its customers take up too many parking spaces in the shopping center.
Boulder Reporting Lab contacted Conis for comment but did not hear back. He owns most of the buildings in the shopping center, except North Boulder Liquor, which is owned by his brother Pete Conis, according to Patterson.
“Landlords rule,” Patterson said. “He needs to give me zero reason why he’s kicking me out, and there’s no recourse, zero way I can recoup any of the loss of my business.”
The unexpected news about Patterson’s lease threw a wrench in the coffee shop owner’s plans. Patterson had intended to pass ownership of Logan’s Espresso Cafe onto his two head baristas this summer. Both have worked with him for at least a decade — an unusual accomplishment in the service industry. They were going to make monthly payments to Patterson out of the store’s revenue.
But that’s not the only plan that fell through. Patterson wanted to spend his days in retirement at the very community gathering place he built.
“My plan was to ride my bike up here every day after I retire to sit down with my customers of 21 years, with kids that I watched grow up,” Patterson said. After he closes the cafe, he added, “I’ll probably never see a lot of these kids and customers who are actually dear friends” — especially since Patterson has little desire to move Logan’s to a new location.
“That’s not what I want to do,” Patterson said of reopening Logan’s elsewhere. “I could do it, but I only have so many of those huge creative surges left in my life.”
Though Patterson said a few customers have offered to help finance Logan’s move, he said, “God, I’ve done it all. I don’t want to do it now. I know how hard it is.”
Patterson created a Change.org petition in July, with hopes that enough signatures would pressure his landlord to reconsider. As of Aug. 8, the petition had 3,382 signatures.
Kathy Emery, one of the petition’s signers and a North Boulder resident, wrote in a comment that Logan’s “vision has been so community based. We and our children have grown up there. It feels like a tear in the fabric of the North Boulder community to have the cafe removed.”
Patterson is planning to throw a New Year’s Eve party at Logan’s before packing up the store in January 2024. He views the party as a chance to make one more positive impact on Boulder. He said part of Logan’s “original business plan was to make an offering to the community.”
“It’s not about money to me,” he said. “Coffee shops are so much more than just coffee.”
“I do understand the truth of uncertainty and impermanence,” Patterson added. “I hope to leave a legacy to my city.”