A Coffeehouse Changes Hands

UPDATE 6/23/2016:

Sad news. After a few changes of ownership and management, Steel City’s going to shut down for good.

It’s a refrain I’m hearing more and more. We thought that things were bad during the recession of 2008, when small businesses¬†with overhead just couldn’t survive the downturn. But, in 2016, live music’s not enough to guarantee a successful business in a town that’s otherwise thriving with less expensive entertainment options. More thoughts soon…


Original story, 6/10/2010:

Steel City Coffee House has grown into a Phoenixville institution. The first time I was there, about eight or nine years ago, it had developed a reputation as the best place in the outlying Philly ‘burbs to see a real blend of singer-songwriters and eclectic musicians.

Today’s headline that the owner has sold the shop to one of her employees marks a welcome passage, especially since everyone seems to be following their passion. The now-former owner stays on as the booking agent, while investing in a coffee house that has to grow its daytime food business to survive.

If I were trying to book one of my acts at that venue today, I’d be trying to figure out how I could help them expand their lunchtime crowd. They’re already pulling consistent crowds to night-time gigs that feature national acts. Finding ways to help venues like this in places where they really need the help can endear you to owners and talent buyers.