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Charles Crane/MDN Sheila Wettlaufer and Rebecca Alvarez are the owners of With Room Coffee and Plants. With Room was notified in July they have until August 31 to vacate their current location and find a new one.


With Room Coffee and Plants has occupied space in the Brick Building in downtown Minot for almost four years, recently celebrating its anniversary in early July. Partners Rebecca Alvarez and Sheila Wettlaufer set out to bring a West Coast vibe to the Magic City coffee scene, and four years later, they say they feel very relaxed and part of the community.

“Our vision was to introduce a different atmosphere. From where we originally started in 2017 doing all the pop up events to where we are now. From the table we went to the store. I feel like we’re definitely a good fit with Minot.” Alvarez said.

Their unique approach is evident amid the seas of greenery in the decor, and the eclectic array of drinks and homemade food on offer has built a following in the busy Minot coffee scene. In addition to their downtown location, With Room also operates a stand at Minot Air Force Base, stocked and supplied from their kitchen in the Brick Building.

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With Room initially signed a one-year lease with their original landlord, with an option to renew for 10 years. After the first year, neither side pursued a 10-year option, agreeing to a monthly agreement for around three years.

“When we first moved in, the talk was that businesses in this building couldn’t go very far, like only 6 to 8 months.” Alvarez said. “As the years went by, we just felt like we had a relationship. We’ve been month-to-month for a very long time, but it never came out.”

Just days after celebrating With Room’s anniversary, the owners were blindsided by a notice from their new landlords that their lease would not be renewed, a new tenant had been found and they had until August 31st to vacate.

In a post accompanying the social media video, With Room’s owners explained their circumstances and that they would do everything possible to find a new place as soon as possible. Although they are blindsided and saddened by the news, Alvarez and Wetlaufer go ahead and accept the trip, but struggle with the daily uncertainty of rising real estate prices and a schedule that leaves many options out. reach

A Starbucks veteran, Alvarez managed locations in California before moving to Minot, but jumped at the opportunity to start his own business in his new home.

“I started this myself, I don’t want to ever end it. We are trying to find out if there is a solution.” Alvarez said.

Alvarez, Wetlaufer and their employees show up every day, continuing to serve their customers and maintain a booth on base while the owners spend their available time finding a landing spot for their business.

Customers still pour in their favorite concoctions and infusions, all passing their sympathy and concern while asking if they’ve found a new place yet, a question they couldn’t answer. Another question that has come up is why With Room was not given a new lease by the new owners despite being an established business and tenant.

One possible answer lies in who bought the Brick Building, the same ownership team behind home goods and gift shop The Foundry. The Foundry currently has a working relationship with Magic Bean Brewing Company, which operates a full-service coffee shop in The Foundry’s current location.

The manager of The Foundry confirmed that the business will move to their new location in the Brick Building sometime in September, and that the Magic Bean will follow later. With Room’s new landlords have offered them a break on their rent if they can vacate by August 15, otherwise they will have to be out by the end of the month.

“It’s not the fact that another cafe is coming here. I come from a city where you have coffee shops everywhere. I congratulate them on buying this building, and I was actually looking forward to having a competitor here with us.” Alvarez said. “To be perfectly honest, 30 days is not enough time to find a lock-in operation, another 5 to 10 year commitment where we’re going to take these people that we employ, including ourselves.”

Room currently employs 12 people, some of whom have been there since the beginning, who will be affected if the business cannot find a new location. Alvarez acknowledges that any delay in reopening will leave their employees with no choice but to file for unemployment or find a new position elsewhere.

“If we find something in 6 to 8 months, hopefully they’ve gotten to the point where they’re still coming back to us, but I can’t tell these kids, ‘Hey, can you not pay your rent?’ I have to pay them back.” Alvarez said. “They will have to find a new job. This is bad because it could be the end. But I never want to go down that road because I’m a problem solver.”

Although they have tried to communicate with their former and current landlords to negotiate a longer time, their pleas have not been answered. Alvarez and Wettlaufer continue to work on the hunt for a suitable location, and their impending deadline grows closer every day.

“We are a small, successful business that has been in business for four and a half years.” Alvarez said. “I just wish it was communicated better. There is a respectful way of doing business. You can still respect another small business.”

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