One Portsmouth coffee shop is seeking to add shots other than espresso to its menu.
The owners of Custom House Coffee, which celebrated its 10th business anniversary last Friday, want to serve alcohol at its Portsmouth shop. The store's owners are seeking to secure a liquor license for the King Charles Drive and West Main Road location.
However, the King's Grant Fellowship church across the street might prevent establishing a liquor license at this shop. State law prohibits any establishment to serve liquor within 200 feet of a church.
In a mailing sent to customers this week, the owners say the interest in a liquor license is a reaction to the "poor economy."
"Unfortunately, we have not been immune to the poor economy over the past few years," writes Custom House owners George Doumaney, Mark Libby and Robert Mastin.
"It has been a real struggle to survive in this environment. For this reason we need to diversify a bit in order to attract more business.
"One way to boost business is to get a liquor license in order to offer more choices for our customers."
The shop's owners say they wish to offer different types of drinks, such as "Irish Lattes" and "Espresso Martinis."
Custom House Coffee currently operates shops in Middletown and Portsmouth, with a third shop to open this summer in Fall River, MA. The Middletown store has operated with a liquor license since last year.
[Corrected at 10:40 a.m.] A Custom House Coffee in East Greenwich, which closed earlier this year, got a liquor license in July 2011.
Portsmouth shop owners are seeking customers' approval for the new additions. Attached to the mailing sent this week is a request to sign a petition in support of the liquor license.
"...However, many of you have adopted the coffee house as your own and will be alarmed at any changes to the business. Be assured that we have no intention of changing the look and feel of the coffee house as a family friendly place," writes the owners.
Also attached to the mailing is an explanation of the state law, which prohibits establishments from serving alcohol within 200 feet of a church. According to the owners, the distance between property lines is 110 feet.
The coffee shop's owners hope to gather signatures and present the petition to the state legislature for exemption from the state law. The Portsmouth Town Council would also need to approve this liquor license.
To view the full letter sent to customers, see the pdf at right.
Custom House Coffee is located in Clock Tower Square development, a nine-acres parcel containing 92,000 sq. ft. of retail and office space. The coffee shop is also located near the King Charles' residential development and down the street from the Portsmouth Abbey School.
A neighborhood meeting to address questions or concerns will also be held on Tuesday, May 15, at 7:30 p.m. at Custom House Coffee.