September 30, 2022

Staffing shortages, inflation, building damage affected downtown Newton business

Bridgehouse Coffee Co. closes its doors

Customers in cars line up in the drive-thru of Bridgehouse Coffee Co. on June 17 in Newton. The business owners announced the coffee shop was closing its doors and that its last day of operations was June 18.

Bridgehouse Coffee Co. in Newton has closed after nine years in business, the owners announced June 17 on Facebook. Business owners Brock Patterson and Sara Crawford cited COVID-19 challenges, staffing shortages, inflation and the visible damage of its downtown building as the circumstances for closing.

“Unfortunately we’ve made the very difficult decision to close our doors, and Saturday, June 18, will be our last day of serving the community,” the post stated. “Over the years we’ve been blessed with the best employees we could ask for, and want to thank them for always making Bridgehouse a welcoming place.”

The owners are grateful for all the support and love given to Bridgehouse and its workers over the years, and they thanked everyone who has walked through the doors since the coffee shop first opened in 2013. Customers “quickly became family” and the owners said they enjoyed sharing life them.

“We greatly appreciate your patronage and value the relationships you’ve built with us and our staff,” the Facebook post concluded. “We hope we’ve been more than just a place to grab a coffee, but that you’ve felt welcomed and appreciated and had the chance to make deep connections with the community.”

Bridgehouse sold coffee drinks and baked goods along the west side of the Newton town square. With its proximity to an alleyway, the coffee shop utilized a drive-through window for on-the-go business. Erin Yeager, executive director of Newton Main Street, said it is sad to see a staple business close the door.

“…And one that brought so many in for coffee and conversation from our town and surrounding communities,” Yeager said.

Bridgehouse announced its closing at 9:19 a.m. June 17. About an hour-and-a-half later, the post had garnered more than 245 reactions, more than 80 comments and about half as many shares. Online comments showed the community was sympathetic yet disappointed the coffee shop was closing.

Several people shared their past experiences with the coffee shop. One person thanked Bridgehouse for providing a space for fellowship. Another recalled the positive impact the business had on the community and on them as a former employee, while another called it a place for peace in the middle of hard times.

Currently, the building at 111 W. Second St. N., where the coffee shop was leased in, is patched together with boards and blue tarp. Building owners Juli Stanford and Dave Bral previously told Newton News in a past interview that structural damage from the 2020 derecho shifted a part of the building.

Wind gusts from the storm loosened the front of the building, but the damage would not be so visible and detrimental until mid-2021. The damage was so extensive the coffee shop had to close for a few days in the summer while contractors addressed the damage.

“We’ve been kind of watching it. I suspect what happened when that derecho came through is the alleyway probably took a lot of wind down through it and caught that top, northeast corner,” Stanford said in 2021. “I think it kind of shook the brick a little bit. It started to get a little dangerous.”

At the time, contractors were working to replace and update the front facade of the downtown Newton shop, which the building owners hoped would be finished within the next month. However, the damages would not stop there. In April 2022, storm winds hit the building again.

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or cbraunschweig@newtondailynews.com

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig has a strong passion for community journalism and covers city council, school board, politics and general news in Newton, Iowa and Jasper County.