Next week, the owner of JP’s Java, JP Hogan, will close the business he started 13 years ago.
JP’s Java, a coffee shop on San Jacinto Boulevard, is set to close Sept. 24. According to Hogan, he and his co-investors put the shop on the market due to a lack of profit. Hogan said the property has a potential buyer, but he has not been told what the real estate will be used for once the shop is gone.
The purchase will not be official until Oct. 3, but Hogan said he expects the deal to go through and is shutting down the shop early to prepare. If the deal does not go through, there is a chance JP Java’s could stay open for a while longer.
“I’d much rather stay,” Hogan said. “I’d much rather be here, but forces out of my control, I guess, are keeping me from doing that.”
The shop gets 600 people minimum every day, but Hogan said the shop is not profitable year-round, and they are losing money. This is especially a problem during the summer months, Hogan said, when sales drop by approximately 30 percent, and over winter break, when sales are reduced by about 50 percent.
“This place is real deceptive to people,” Hogan said. “This place is packed all the time, and it looks like it’s just making money hand-over-fists, but it’s not. It can look packed, all the tables can be full, but each person paid four dollars, and they’re sitting there two, three [or] four hours.”
According to Columbia Mishra, former Graduate Student Assembly president and mechanical engineering graduate student, said the shop’s location and atmosphere made it a central gathering spot for members of the graduate school community. Mishra said she often meets people from different departments there who she would not have met otherwise.
Mishra started a petition for JP’s Java to stay in business. As of Thursday, the petition had 237 supporters.
“I associate JP’s with my UT experience, and I’m pretty sure that if you read the comments, you will see that others feel the same,” Mishra said.
Hogan said he knows a lot of the people who have signed and commented on the petition, and that he feels honored by how much they care about JP’s Java.
“I can’t keep losing money to make everyone happy, but I’m just really appreciative of the kind things that have been said,” Hogan said.
Hogan said he wanted to bring gourmet coffee to Austin when he opened JP’s Java in 2001.
“Around 2000, coffee really had a big change, and my goals were two things,” Hogan said. “One, have the best coffee in town, and two was to build a place that was homey, where people could come and relax. A home away from home.”
Michael Vaclav, one of the shop’s original two baristas and owner of Caffé Medici, said he learned about the culture of coffee at JP’s. He said Hogan was one of the first people in Austin to focus on the quality, types and sources of the coffee being sold — all of which are qualities Vaclav said he tries to apply at his own shop.
“JP was the first person in Austin to really start paying attention to all of that,” Vaclav said. “I was the manager there for a while, too. I learned how to run a coffee shop. He was really open and talked to me a lot about it.”
JP said there is a possibility of the shop opening in a different location, but he does not know where or when this would happen, if at all.
“I may be back, but as I leave, I see a coffee culture that has been totally transformed,” Hogan said. “I’m not saying I transformed it, not in any way am I saying that, but I’m really glad I had a part in [the transformation].”