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'It feels like losing a person': Long-time customers, former employees visit Highland Coffee Company before closure

A mainstay in the Highlands neighborhood said they are closing their doors after 22 years. Owners cited COVID-19 as a deciding factor.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Highland Coffee Company is closing permanently. 

After 22 years, the coffee spot on Bardstown Road will close its doors for good Thursday. In a Facebook post, owners Greg and Natalie Hofer said the COVID-19 pandemic was a deciding factor in the closure. 

"We have overcome many challenges over 22 years, but as the reality has set in that we are facing another COVID winter ahead, we realize this is the decision we need to make, both as a business and personally," the post read.

Long-time customers showed their appreciation Monday morning with lines wrapped around the building. Former employee and Food Network personality Damaris Phillips said she made it a priority to show up and say goodbye after hearing the news.

"It feels like losing a person," Phillips said. "It is loss, because there is not ever going to be a space again where all of these people come together — all of these shared memories, all of these moments."

Phillips said she paid her way through culinary school by working at Highland Coffee, calling it the best job she has ever had.

"It was a coffee shop, but it was a home and a family," Phillips said. "I would like for Highland Coffee to be remembered as that place where every single person who worked there made every single person who came in feel that they mattered."

In the Facebook post, Highland Coffee thanked customers that have kept the business a neighborhood mainstay.

Dear Highland Coffee friends and family, It is with much sadness and heavy hearts that we announce the closing of...

Posted by Highland Coffee Company on Sunday, September 5, 2021

"It has been a joy and a privilege beyond what we could’ve ever imagined when we opened Highland Coffee back in 1999, to be a part of our Highlands community and the neighborhood we live in and love," the Hofers said. "How fortunate we have been to meet so many amazing people who have been a part of our daily lives and supported us all these years."

Another Bardstown Road business, Ramsi's Cafe on the World, filed for bankruptcy earlier this week. 

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