July 9, 2012 by Sarah M
// By Maggie Kane //
STEVENS SQUARE — The Nicollet coffee shop recently changed hands but will stay at its current location at the intersection of Franklin & Nicollet.
Former owner Jeremy Konecny opened The Nicollet last April. It was the third business to move into the space since the Acadia Café moved from the corner storefront to the West Bank in early 2008.
Konecny cited issues with drug and alcohol users on the corner as a reason for his decision to pass along the business. He also lacked a liquor license, something Steven Gallagher, executive director of the Stevens Square Community Organization, suggested would have helped business.
“We were trying to make a go for it, to be a true coffee shop,” Konecny said. “It’s really hard to have a venue with no beer and wine license.”
Konecny approached Michael Graca, owner of nearby Boiler Room Coffee, about taking over the business.
“I’ve always wanted that space,” Graca said.
Graca said The Nicollet would most likely open in August with limited hours as he works to perfect the venue. After several months he plans to expand to late night hours and apply for a liquor license.
“I think that after Acadia left that space, no one really knew what it was supposed to be,” he said. “I don’t think it really had an identity.”
Graca planned to seek community input to shape the venue, consulting with places like the Electric Fetus record store and Radio K to learn about the music and nightlife scene.
“I am not a nightlife person,” he said. “I find it best to find the expertise of people around me and figure that stuff out through them.”
Gallagher said having a successful business at that corner increases the viability of the area. Graca’s success with Boiler Room is encouraging, he added.
“Hopefully, he can make something work over there,” Gallagher said.
Graca said it would take some time to reestablish The Nicollet as a venue.
“I just really hope that people understand that, while it’s the same name, it’s a new place,” Graca said. “That space has a history of poor operators, and I just want people to know that they will be taken care of and feel safe and comfortable when they come in.”