downtown oakland
Downtown Oakland circa 1910

New DeLauer's owners to change, close newsstand

July 10, 2008

After all the excitement downtown about DeLauer’s staying open, the Chronicle and Tribune report that it has been sold. The new owners are excited to receive government assistance, but their aim does not appear to be to maintain the business as a twenty-four-hour newsstand, according to the Trib.

The new owners said they intend to convert the newsstand at 1310 Broadway into a coffee cafe. “We’ll have Internet wireless, the whole thing.” (DeLauer’s clerk and new partner Fasil) Lemma said…┬áThe biggest change will be to end DeLauer’s 24-hour operation. “I used to work graveyard and downtown Oakland is very tough after midnight,” Lemma said. “We think that closing from midnight to 5 a.m. will reduce the crime problem.”

As I explained before, downtown residents disagree with the idea that closing DeLauer’s at night will “reduce the crime problem.” To the contrary, it would make crime much worse without a late-night presence near the all-night bus and taxi stands, and a BART station that operates until after 1am. So now the question is, why should city subsidies and community groups help DeLauer’s, at 13th and Broadway, become just another coffeeshop, when Peet’s, Tully’s and the Awaken Cafe are all within a block?

6 comments

1 mcas { 07.10.08 at 11:09 pm }

You left off: Boungiorno, Cafe Como, Cafe Teatro, Crema, Espresso Gourmet, Rising Loafer.

I’d say the DTO coffee market is at saturation (though Awaken was a benefit, since the rest make crappy coffee)…

2 Becks { 07.11.08 at 12:03 am }

This is terrible news! I still don’t understand how anyone can think that closing businesses earlier reduced crime – it really makes no sense. And there really are plenty of cafes in the area and plenty of them offer internet access.

In the Tribune article they say that they’ll still be making a space for the newsstand part, but I’m guessing they’re just going to shove it to a corner and it won’t offer any more selection than other stores in the area.

I really hope that Oakland and the community groups pull funding from this.

3 Joanna { 07.11.08 at 2:24 am }

The problem is that more than a few places need to be open late – and they can’t all be coffee places. Is Internet access the diferentiator? (sp?)

I can’t say I agree with govt subsidies or grants here. It’s a free market system and so if they can’t make their business work, then why give them money? I have a business that is barely getting by – we had great years prior to all the construction in our area and the new condos aren’t filling so quick. Should I get a grant or subsidy (sp?) to stay? I don’t think so. Of course I’m not open late, I don’t sell coffee, and I’m not on Broadway.

I like the idea of DeLauer’s becoming an Internet cafe. It might become an attraction just for that reason… but I still question their business plan. Maybe they should become a non-profit and find a service to offer the homeless that hang out there. But that has it’s own drawbacks.

4 Eric { 07.11.08 at 2:36 am }

Clearly another darkened, closed storefront will do nothing to reduce crime, and will likely have the opposite effect. This is a real shame, because DeLauer’s as a coffeeshop simply isn’t DeLauer’s. If the newsstand aspect disappears, downtown will have lost a landmark just as if the shop had closed down altogether.

5 QuorketVeitte { 08.03.08 at 4:36 am }

Brilliant!

6 Angela { 09.10.08 at 5:27 pm }

In case anyone cares anymore, the news about closing early was scrapped. The store will continue to stay open 24/7 but as a news hub and internet cafe. I added an update in the Trib as well as the Night Owl blog a while back, one of many up to the time Charlie DeLauer passed away. His granddaughter is sharp as a tack and is working with the new owners to invigorate the store and the area. Although coffee is not hard to find during the daytime downtown, a late night cafe is — or anything that stays open past sunset. Awaken Cafe is more than a year behind schedule with its space that’s supposed to be nocturnal. Urban Grind on 4th near Jack London Square is the only late night cafe around, indispensible for night owls.