Two downtown Suffolk businesses close Saturday

Published 10:05 am Wednesday, January 2, 2013

By Tracy Agnew/Suffolk News-Herald

Saturday will be a dark day in downtown Suffolk as two local businesses close their doors permanently.

However, both closures represent new beginnings for the owners and their spouses, the entrepreneurs said on Friday.

Rosa’s Coffee Cantina and Uniquely Leo’s, a gift shop, will both be open for the last time Saturday. The owners did not plan their closures in concert, one said, but it seemed to work out for both at the same time.

Drake Simms, owner of Rosa’s Coffee Cantina, said the coffee shop was operating in the black and had many loyal customers. However, he and his wife, LoriLynn, are hoping to focus more on her art business in the new year.

“I’ve come to grips with it,” said Simms, who opened the shop in March 2011. “It’s going to be sad tomorrow when I click off the lights.”

Simms said he has enjoyed fulfilling his long-held dream of owning a coffee shop, getting to know his customers and becoming good friends with many of them.

“I wouldn’t have changed anything for the world,” he said, adding he would “do it all over again.”

Across the street, Uniquely Leo’s has seen a lot of support since it closed temporarily after Thanksgiving, owner Marcy Miller said. The 10-day closure resulted from a dispute involving the shop’s former landlord.

Miller said the business has taken in enough money to pay off all its obligations. The main reason for the closure is that her husband Chris, a chemical engineer, accepted a job in Raleigh, N.C.

“It’s an opportunity that he could not refuse,” she said, adding that a recruiter approached him about the job.

In a note posted on her Facebook page, Miller wrote, “He has supported me 110 percent regarding the shop, and now, I feel like it is my turn to support him.”

However, Miller also said the shop was not able to recover from being closed during the prime of the holiday shopping season.

“I hate it for Suffolk, especially now since Rosa’s is closing, too,” she said.

Miller is looking to sell the business and its remaining inventory.

Back at the coffee shop, Simms does not yet know what will become of the space, which he rents from the owner.

He has received some interest from a bakery/coffee shop, he said.