A coffee shop in Sag Harbor may be closing at the end of the month after its landlord handed the lease to someone else. It is an old story: A property owner decides to go in a new direction, or raise the rent, or renovate. Happens all the time.
But this go-round is different. Java Nation has been in its location up a set of stairs off Sag Harbor’s Main Street for 17 years and become an anchor for the village, a draw for those who drive from as far as Montauk, a place for regulars to talk over the news of the world, to put up notices about lost cats and jobs wanted. The story has a bitter taste, too, in that the landlord has arranged for a new, more “upscale” coffee shop to take the old one’s place. It was this more than anything else that seemed to heat the blood of the regulars.
The last vestiges of the village’s manufacturing heyday could be sniffed, some said, in the aroma of roasting beans rising nearly every morning from Java Nation. The shop, run by Cheryl and Andres Bedini, was an antidote to the hermetic and characterless feeling of, say, East Hampton Main Street. Worst of all, the end of Java Nation could mean Sag Harbor is finally succumbing, becoming one of the “Hamptons,” full of high-end chain stores in summer, groaningly empty in winter.
A boycott has been discussed, as have acts of protest that could land you in the village lockup. For many, the end of the month, when Java Nation is supposed to be gone, is an existential turning point for the community. For personal interest (many of us at The Star survive on its coffee) and in the interest of the real Sag Harbor, we hope the Bedinis find a new home nearby.