An exploration of things to do in Arlington

Monday, March 24, 2008

Uh Oh: DC's Murky Coffee Closes, Arlington Location in Trouble

With the possible exception of Java Shack, there is no better coffee shop in Arlington than Murky Coffee. Great coffee, cool staff, fun place to hang out or miss a connection.

But according to the Washington Post, Murky owes Virginia about $20,000 in sales tax and its DC location is closed and will not reopen:
Murky Coffee, according to the tax office, owes more than $427,000 in sales and franchise taxes. A lien filed against the business shows that Cho paid sales tax to the government in only three of the 24 months from November 2004 to October 2006. Officials with the tax office said Cho missed payments in 2007 and 2008 as well.
There's a lot to like about Murky's public business practices, using fair-trade beans and giving away used coffee grounds for garden fertilizer. But as for Murky's private business practices ... well, the article speaks for itself. As Small Business blogger Sharon McLoone writes, "Murky Coffee is a classic example of a well-intentioned small business that failed due to financial mismanagement - not because it lacked customers or a good product."

What would go in if Murky left? There are already eight Starbucks locations in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor alone, but none between Virginia Square and eastern Clarendon. One would think they'd target that spot in western Clarendon for number nine. There has also been talk of a major Dunkin Donuts expansion in Northern Virginia for years, but the R-B corridor remains without a single one.

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Blogger Chris said...

Yet another reason Common Grounds shouldn't have sold in the first place.

12:41 PM

Anonymous Lauren said...

Wow, that's pretty shady. I wonder what the disconnect was. Paying taxes as a business is pretty basic and Accounting 101. If they were struggling, you would think they would have made an appeal for public support. Shame.

8:26 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree. Loved loved loved Common Grounds. Great atmosphere, great sandwiches and fabulous desserts. Only went to Murky a few times since the change and they wouldn't warm up a cold croissant. Another local coffeeshop is Hot Shotz around the corner from Dheli Club, although they close early.

2:16 PM

Blogger Jay -- Arlington Virginia Condos said...

Common Grounds rocked! Murkee Coffee was too franchisy and took away the artsy ambiance of Common Grounds, not to mention superior customer service and menu options of Common Grounds.

It will be interesting to see what's next. I do hope it's not a Starbucks--keep in mind I just purchased 20 $5 gift cards--but some balance of chain to indie is good to have to maintain the personality of the orange line corridor.


11:51 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Common Grounds was amazing. In a neighborhood recently overwhelmed by corporate chains, a return to anything independent like Common Grounds would be excellent. And perhaps they could bring back those fresh-baked pumpkin muffins in the Fall.

12:47 AM


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