PI Roasters Is Gone

Monday April 19, 2021

Photo by Stewart Lytle

NEWBURYPORT — Bruce Vogel asked the landlord for his popular Plum Island Roasters Coffee House to let him stay open until April 30. But faced with triple the rent and the potential of paying the fees for his landlord’s lawyers to go through an eviction process, Vogel gave in.

The Roasters shut its doors for the last time mid-afternoon Sunday, evicted by the New England Development Co. (NED).

Many of the shop’s regulars came to give Vogel and his team a sendoff with baked goods to go with the Roasters’ coffee.

“All I feel is sadness,” Vogel said, dismissing the customary greeting of ‘how are you?’ But he said he is also feeling perplexed. “How can an organization say it wants to work with the community, then not do it?”

The NED website, Vogel pointed out, states: “

we take an all-inclusive approach to development. From the outset, we seek input from community leaders, and partner with state and city entities, neighbors, residents, and tenants. The result: projects that add lasting value to the communities in which we do business—adding to the tax base, improving infrastructure, creating jobs, and enhancing community stature.”

“Why bother with the words?” Vogel asked.

Vogel, who also owns Souffles on Market Square, has two weeks to clear out Roasters’ equipment, furnishings and knickknacks. “How am I supposed to do that?” he asked. Much of what was Roasters, he said, would probably go in a dumpster.

One treasure, his short piano, which was the largest table and the favorite gathering place of regulars, will go to the Newburyport Senior Center. Vogel said Mary Kelly, the activities coordinator, told him she has just the right spot for the short piano. But the Short Piano Group, regulars who gathered most mornings for coffee and conversation, said they would not follow their piano.

The Short Piano Group, which includes Doug Kuhlmann, Paul Healy, Will Rogers and Helen Pinksy, plan to join Vogel at Souffles. “We’re not old enough to be seniors,” Rogers joked.

Letter to the Editor

One of the ways Bruce Vogel has been a beacon of community spirit is by inviting Greater Newburyport Ovarian Cancer Awareness (GNOCA) to use his Plum Island Coffee Roasters after hours for our volunteer planning meetings, thank you parties, and other such gatherings.  Bruce’s generosity has, indeed, been an important part of GNOCA’s growth and development over the last 10 years and it has greatly benefited from this generosity.

We can only say “Thank you, Bruce” for your commitment to our community.  It has been greatly appreciated and “The Roasters” will be fondly remembered for its part in helping GNOCA become what it is today.

Debra Green, Diane West, Jeanette Isabella, Maryellen Lawler, Margaret Mahoney, Sheila Bridgland, Ann Marie Salmon, Amy Poor, Kathy Scanlan, Kitty Krajci, Elaine Carroll

Submitted by Elaine Carroll Amesbury

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