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What will replace Friends Cafe? Spout Springs library supporters working on options
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Friends Cafe was located inside the Spout Springs branch of the Hall County Library System. - photo by Jeff Gill

The days of picking up a coffee and a book at Hall County Library System’s Spout Springs branch in Flowery Branch are gone.

Friends Cafe, just inside the entrance to the library off Spout Springs Road and in Sterling on the Lake subdivision, has closed after 11 years.

“The current tenant informed us about three weeks ago that, for personal reasons, they would no longer be able to run the cafe and so, terminated the lease,” said Denise Lee, Friends of the Library president, in an email.

The Friends group is a nonprofit organization that supports the library system through volunteer efforts and fundraising.

The tenants, Becky and Moses Shemesh, couldn’t be reached for comment. A message on the cafe’s answering machine refers to the cafe being temporarily closed during the pandemic but says nothing about being permanently closed.

A sign on the cafe door says the owners told the library system on March 31 that “due to personal reasons, they will no longer run the cafe nor continue with their lease.”

Except for a lack of workers, the cafe looks like it could still be open.

A sign is still in the window, jars and cups are on a counter, coffee machines are still in place and the menu — an assortment of sandwiches, smoothies and salads — is scribbled on a chalkboard.

The closing has stirred up talk on social media, with people lamenting the cafe’s departure and speculating on what’s next.

“We’ve started research on ways to best utilize the space that the cafe has occupied, based on the needs of the Spout Springs branch, in light of our mission to support our library and the community it serves,” Lee said. “At this point, we’re still in the information-gathering phase.”

One possibility is “additional space to support library programs, especially for children and youth,” especially given the growth in South Hall, Lee said.