Tired of area residents having just fast-food choices, Mary Ann Behiry wanted to offer something different at Mocha Moe’s Coffee House & More in South Hall.
“Nobody gave you gouda (cheese), but I did,” she said in a phone interview Friday, Jan. 10.
But gouda costs a lot more, and it was high overhead that eventually sunk the business, which announced earlier this week that it was closing after “an amazing four years in business.”
“I had a lot of regulars who came in every single day, and I’ll miss that. I’ll miss seeing their faces. It was just nice, you know.”
The shop in the Kroger-anchored shopping center off Spout Springs and Friendship roads opened in May 2016.
A Facebook post reflecting on the experience says, “We built Mocha Moe’s with our bare hands. We turned a neon yellow dollar store into a fun, beautiful venue filled with parties, music and wonderful friendships,” the post says.
“I’m going to miss walking around and talking to people,” Behiry said. “When I handed someone an almond chicken salad that I made from scratch and they would go ‘Wow, that’s beautiful,’ it was so validating.
“When you work really hard and you get compliments all day every day, man, what other job gives you that?”
But then, as said on Facebook, “Perseverance and hard work I had hoped would be enough to allow us to thrive. Unfortunately, our space was double the size we needed and could afford. The overhead for running this establishment was beyond what anyone could imagine.”
In addition to coffee, Mocha Moe’s served pastries, desserts, and breakfast and lunch items. Shortly after the shop opened, the Behirys began selling craft beer and wine at the bar of their 3,800-square-foot shop.
The business featured the work of local artists on the walls and a stage for musicians.
“It’s long, long hours, it’s physical work — I wasn’t just sitting in an office,” Behiry said.