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My Favorite Muffin, a bakery and cafe in the Shoppes at Columbine Square at 5950 S. Platte Canyon Road, closed on Jan. 28.
Matthew Berry, whose family bought the shop six years ago, said their landlord, Mark Thomas, the managing member of Arc Camelback LLC, which owns the Littleton shopping center, didn't give them the option to renew their lease.
“We were trying to renew the lease for about a year,” Berry said. “The landlord put it off, and when it came around to the nitty gritty where we'd have to renew or move out, he didn't even give us the option to renew. He just sent a letter to quit to our location.”
Thomas would not comment on lease negotiations.
Berry said his family is upset because they felt they had established a rapport with the community, and employed 17 people at the shop. Berry said the location just recently began to turn a profit.
Comments on a Nextdoor.com thread about the location's closure overwhelmingly expressed dismay.
"Bummer," read one comment. "They are great people and an awesome family. I pray the best for them!"
My Favorite Muffin, a national chain, has three other locations in the Denver metro area. Most are independently owned franchises, according to the company's website.
Berry said the family is working to open a new My Favorite Muffin location in Parker, where they live.
“We've been commuting an hour each way every day for six years because we wanted the family to have a presence there,” said Berry, adding that the family has received hundreds of emails bidding them well and asking where they'll open up next.
Debbie Swanson, Berry's mother, said she will miss the community but is hopeful about the future.
“It's mixed emotion,” Swanson said. “We'll miss our customers, but now we (will) open one closer to home.”
Swanson said the shop sometimes got behind in rent, particularly in winter, but they always caught up. She added that construction traffic related to a new Circle K gas station being built on the corner often blocked their access and sent customers elsewhere.
“Overall though, Mark was a good landlord,” Swanson said. “His reasoning is his own. We hate to leave — we had phenomenal customers. There were a lot of tears on the last day.”
Swanson said that both she and Thomas were hesitant about renewing the lease.
“The store had a lot of ups and downs,” Swanson said. “We didn't have a lot of visibility. We had people up to the last day saying they'd never noticed us before. Mark was aware of that.”
Thomas said he has high hopes for the space.
“My Favorite Muffin's lease had expired earlier last year, and the owners remained in occupancy until recently,” Thomas said via text message. “We wish them well with their future plans. We are now in the early stages of advertising the space for lease and no decisions have been made regarding future occupancy. Given its strong location and visibility we fully expect the space to be re-leased shortly.”
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