YBI Evicts Joe Maxx Coffee from Downtown Site

YOUNGSTOWN – Joe Maxx Coffee Co. in downtown Youngstown, which has been closed for most of the year due to the pandemic, will not reopen.

The shop at 265 W. Federal St., owned by Mike Avey of Girard, is being evicted for nonpayment of rent.

Avey acknowledged being behind in his rent. He said he asked his landlord, the Youngstown Business Incubator, if it would keep the storefront vacant so that he could  reopen it when the pandemic ends and workers return to downtown.

“I guess this is their response,” he said of the eviction notice.

Corey Patrick, a spokesman for the YBI, said the incubator does not wish to comment on the situation at this time.

Joe Maxx closed in March when the state-mandated shutdown of restaurants took effect. It reopened in September but closed within a few weeks because of a lack of customers.

An eviction notice from the YBI has been posted on the shop’s front door, dated Oct. 26. It states that Joe Maxx must leave the premises within three days “or else we will commence an action to evict you and re-enter and take possession of the premises.”

The notice was also sent to the shop by certified mail, but Avey said he has not gone to the shop lately and did not receive it. Avey only learned of the eviction notice on Friday.

Joe Maxx opened in Realty Tower on East Federal Street in 2011, and moved to its most recent location in the YBI building in 2015.

“We made an attempt to reopen at the end of September but our business was off 80%, and we were losing more than $100 a day,” Avey said.

Downtown workers comprise almost all of the shop’s customers, and the vast majority of them are still working from their homes due to the pandemic, Avey said.

“This is a cash-driven business that depends on daily receipts to make monthly bills and I have no alternative other than foot traffic,” Avey said. “Coffee does not lend itself to delivery.”

He estimated it would cost him more than $5,000 to get caught up on rent and then pay it through April, even though he would not be able to reopen during that time.

Avey hoped to be able to reopen in May if the space was still vacant.

In his nine years downtown, Avey said he has seen a lot of change.

“When I came into the Realty Building, it was just the Lemon Grove, Café Cimmento and the diner in the YMCA,” he said. “I watched [the number of downtown restaurants] double over the years. Then in one week in March, it got its legs cut off.”

Avey said he has no animosity toward the YBI and is thankful for his many regular customers. 

“[The YBI] always treated me fair in the past,” he said. “It was a good relationship, and they were also good customers. “I appreciate all of my primary customers – the people who worked downtown. If there were more people downtown, we’d be open.”

Avey said he would not rule out reopening a Joe Maxx coffee shop in another location after the pandemic ends.

Avey has a financial interest in Joe Maxx shops in Brecksville, Ohio, and Inglewood, Fla., both of which are still open, but those stores are owned by other people.

Pictured: Joe Maxx Coffee Co.’s downtown location has been closed for several weeks and is being evicted.

Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.