After over four years of business, Tongue's Coffee in downtown Wyandotte will shut its doors on January 21. The closure comes at the expense of lease disputes with building owners. Building owners Kathleen Gunther, Annette Crossman, and Janette Crossman also co-own Total Health Foods, which moved to Wyandotte in 2010. The owners purchased the neighboring building in April, using it to vastly expand their Wyandotte location in November. The businesses worked well together for a while. During the remodel, Total Health even moved its juice bar inside of Tongue's Cafe.
But come this week Tongue's owner Tim Tongue took to Facebook with a closure announcement. "On New Year's Eve at 5:30p.m. I found out that there are no negotiations and Jeanette, Annette, and Kathleen will want the space we have invested $75,000 into. I am very hurt and disappointed with this game they have played with my lively hood." wrote Tongue. He further claims that the rent was set to increase by 60 percent.
Today, Total Health Foods responded to Tongue's closure on social media. "We have been upfront with Tim Tongue. Since July of 2015, we told him we would renew his standing contract at his current rent for 6 months. After which, he would need to be ready to renew in December for the new amount. We did consider the type of business Tongues Coffee Shop was before raising the rent. As business owners ourselves we sit down to count the costs before doing any endeavor. We felt for a Downtown Wyandotte business this was not unreasonable."
Continuing, "New Year's Eve he told us he would not pay and would not sign a contract with us. There is no contract in place, and there been no money exchanged for rent. If he knew he was not going to renew his lease, he was supposed to give us notice."
Tongue's joins several other independent coffee shops in Wyandotte that have shuttered in recent years. After 20 years, local staple the Grind also closed its doors last January over a contract dispute regarding raised rent. In Tongue's statement, the cafe owner urged locals to support Biddle Blend, the only other independent coffee shop left in the area. Eater has reached out to both parties for comment. Stay tuned.