On February 11th, 2014, Hidden Pearl Café opened its doors to what had seemed to be a never-ending build out. Despite the fact we were not 100 percent ready, and February is not the busiest month for business, we opened. After all, every $20 made would be $20 less out of pocket for the ongoing expenses. From the very first day we unlocked the door, until the day we closed at 1208 North Green Street, we remained a business that was fortunate to have solid traffic and loyal customers.
In 2015, we changed the name from “café” to “coffee” to help our customers better understand who we are and what we do. A subtle change in our business occurred when we tapped into our community. We began opening up the space after hours to many wonderful patrons and groups: to monthly library readings, numerous Chamber of Commerce meetings, sold-out plays, notable comedians, poetry nights, informative events, and even events to promote public awareness such as suicide prevention. We also hosted both Democratic and Republican meetings, we televised the presidential debates to packed houses.
We hosted religious workshops, creative writing workshops, and book signings. Two published books were written in our shop, and one even mentioned us and our importance to the community directly. We became a very important part of the neighborhood for those who knew we were there.
Businesses face many challenges. For us the struggle was immediate. We spent a good deal of money on renovating the space. Then, just four months after opening, the owners of building we were renting went into foreclosure. Signs went up on the building and many assumed that it was the business that went into foreclosure. We lost a lot of momentum.
During the foreclosure process the bank decided not to renew our lease and we paid our way month to month. We stayed open and operated in limbo, not really knowing what the outcome would be. We always had a positive thought because we believed whoever bought the space would want us as a tenant, particularly because we were looking to expand.
As the foreclosure dragged on, the building was starting to fall into complete disrepair. The bank was not doing any maintenance and because of the building’s age, the heat was out, the roof was leaking and pipes were bursting in the basement. It was hard to keep pushing forward, but we continued operating as well as we could. When a buyer finally came along, they wanted to redevelop the entire property and restore it to a movie theater. Unfortunately, we did not fit into that plan and we were given notice to leave.
When a buyer finally came along, they wanted to redevelop the entire property and restore it to a movie theater. Unfortunately, we did not fit into that plan and we were given notice to leave.
A space in Lake Zurich was offered to us and it looked like the shop was headed down that path. That's when many people in the community reached out to us and helped us realize what the shop meant to them. Their support really changed our approach to what we were looking to do and how we wanted to proceed
We struck a deal with the building at 1250 North Green Street and began the process of redeveloping that space. The old shop was 1,400 square feet. Our new space is over 7,000.
We are excited to introduce many new things in this large space. The coffee shop will be larger (more espresso machines for greater and higher production capacity), the kitchen and menu will be expanded to offer a wider selection. We have also set aside 700 square feet for small events such as business meetings, baby and bridal showers, workshops and clubs.
Finally, we are excited to announce the 200 seat “live room,” called “Talent Gallery”. In here, we will host a number of events from large parties to poetry night, open mic night, plays, art shows, and most prominently comedy and improv.
Our goal is to have the best talent, food, and coffee to bring new customers, continuing to build a place where patrons can visit any day or time and know that it will be time well spent. If we do this right, we will be a coffee shop that will continue to grow, and enhance the neighborhood and surrounding businesses.
1250 N. Green Street.McHenry, IL 60050
-Hidden Pearl Coffee!