Kits Coffee closes after 17 years in business


I stood in shock this morning (and in serious need of caffeine) when I wondered down the block to Kits Coffee only to see it all boarded up with a sign – closed for good!

I have long been a supporter of Kits Coffee mostly because it is super close to my home, independent and spacious enough for a stroller. In my opinion, the coffee, food, price point, atmosphere was, in a word, fine.

Kits Coffee appealed to those of us who just wanted something easy – no young men in $200 ironic tees and skinny jeans sipping $4 espresso to run over with children in tow, no long lines, no BS. That noted, with apartments above and a large parking lot in a very expensive postal code, there is no doubt that Kits Coffee was also located on a goldmine.

Nobody is answering the phones at Kits Coffee and the neighbours I spoke with are equally perplexed as to what will happen with the space. Do any readers have any leads?

Image: Nicole Reid

Last modified: September 25, 2012

10 Responses to " Kits Coffee closes after 17 years in business "

  1. West 4th BIA says:

    We will really miss Kits Coffee! Our West 4th BIA had no idea that the owner was going to close his store, so it came as a big surprise to us as well. BUT just know that your daily caffeine fix can still be found between Fir and Balsam Streets at 49th Parallel Coffee (2152 West 4th), Blondy’s Coffee (1705 West 4th), Blue Moon Flying Swan Cafe (1724 West 4th), Buen Cafe (2350 West 4th), Culprit Coffee (2028 Vine Street),DAVIDs Tea (2230 West 4th), Jitters Caffe (1966 West 4th), O5 Tea Bar (2208 West 4th), Starbucks (2270 West 4th), Take 5 Cafe (2278 West 4th) and Terra Breads Cafe (2380 West 4th). And just so you all know, West 4th has opened 21 new businesses since January 2012 – so our street is quietly bucking the popular media myth of business closures in Vancouver.

  2. Pip says:

    The BIA may be all positive about recent business changes in Kits. But the trend is to lose locally-owned businesses in favour of corporate outlets. The local businesses are typically owned by entrepreneurs who live, pay taxes and contribute to the community. Instead we are left with chain stores paying crappy wages to people who can never hope to set down roots in this community. Profits disappear outside of the community.

    I believe in competition and the free market, but the high rents are killing the uniqueness and intimacy of Kits. Soon all we will be left with Starbucks, Telus and the like; indistinguishable from any other neighbourhood.

    I don’t know what the answer is, but we are poorer because of the loss of locally owned independent businesses like Kits Coffee.

  3. KitsCafe says:

    When 49th Parallel opened, Kits coffee co suddenly became less popular. 49th is a local business. The problem with Kits Coffee Co is that they were not serious about the quality of their coffee. This location would be great for a JJ Bean Cafe.

  4. West 4th BIA says:

    I’m not sure what “trend” brush Pip is painting with, but it’s certainly NOT the canvas of reality on West 4th. Your neighbourhood is still as unique and interesting as ever.

    Our 8 block West 4th business district has pretty consistantly maintained a local business/ownership ratio of 75% local business/25% nationals. Most of the 75% of business owners either live right in the community, live close to Kitsilano or around the City at large.

    100% of the businesses on West 4th employ people who live in our surrounding neighbourhoods, and they also pay 3 TIMES as much in commercial property taxes, too. So, their profits filter directly through the community in employee wages that are then spent in neighbourhoods all around Vancouver, by the business owner making local purchasing decisions of goods and services (instead of shopping across the line), and help fund the services we all enjoy as Vancouverites.

    Plus, I have rarely seen a more community-minded bunch than those business owners on West 4th — who regularly support kids sports teams, neighbourhood groups, local charities and special community projects.

    …oh, and our rents are actually pretty decent, in about the $40-60 psf range, which is in the same region as Main Street and WAY lower than Robson, Yaletown or South Granville. It’s the City’s spiraling property taxes (which our merchants pay through their triple-net rents) that is the real business killer.

    So thank you to Pip and everyone for continuing to support our businesses on West 4th. Your local buying decisions keep businesses open, and are a part of the big picture of the effort in keeping our Kitsilano unique!

  5. A local guy says:

    Seriously … considering the alternatives … I look forward to a better use of the real estate.

  6. cafecafe says:

    I’d have to agree with kitscafe posting, having a name called “kits coffee” you’d think they would be serious about coffee. Been there several times over the years and its always the same, bland coffee with no style, more concerned with wraps and salads. not surprised really but with such a great coffee culture in Vancouver i’m sure it’ll be taken over by another great biz.

  7. Vanburner says:

    “West 4th has opened 21 new businesses since January 2012 ” but how many businesses shut or relocated during the same time is an interesting question and why?

    I’ve not counted the For Rent signs in the last couple of months but I believe that 4th (Burrard to Balsam) and Yew at the Beach there are about 16 vacant shop fronts. That’s almost the same number as the number of Asian restaurants in Kits. Some of the recent closings or relocations have been from long time Kits stores who didn’t want to pay the huge rent increases or wanted more floor space at a better cost.

    I love shopping in Kits but it would be great if some of the building and land owners felt the same about the history and character of Kits.

  8. Dr Doc says:

    I’m not surprised. I went there twice: the first time, I noticed all of the “no signs” (no public washrooms, outside food/bev, etc) on the door. The second time, the staff were very cold. Not a good experience. Maybe it was because I didn’t fit the Kits clique?

  9. Jessica says:

    I am in agreement with some of the naysayers here, unfortunately! There are some superb coffee shops very close to Kits Coffee (Arbutus Coffee and Culprit being my absolute go-to’s) that easily show this place up every time. I gave Kits Coffee a few fair trials though, but the staff were incredibly uninformed about coffee. On one occasion I had to tell the guy at the counter that they sold whole beans (he didn’t know, and I was looking to buy a pound) and then explained to him what a french press was when he asked me incredulously how I made coffee at home…what!?