A Birmingham-based coffee company that expanded quickly across the Southeast in an effort to become the region’s leading boutique roaster has shuttered its Charleston store.
Revelator Coffee at 555 King St. didn’t unlock its doors Monday, instead posting a handwritten sign that reads, “Charleston, thank you! We’re proud of our team and feel honored to have served this city and our neighbors here on Upper King. With regret, we are closing our doors at this location.”
A publicist for Revelator supplied a statement from Meredith Singer, director of brand strategy and marketing, saying "Our staff works incredibly hard and we’re doing everything we can to ensure they have opportunities elsewhere. The decision to close is never easy, but this came down to store performance and sustainability.”
Although Singer didn't elaborate, the store’s former marketing specialist suggested sales fell below expectations.
“It didn’t seem as though this location was gaining significant traffic,” says Zoe Szoke, who joined the coffeehouse in a promotional role when it opened in November 2016.
The final Yelp review for the Charleston store was posted earlier this month: “Cute place, but a coffee-only place should have good coffee? Theirs was very weak,” a visitor from Jacksonville wrote. “I won't come back here, even though I wanted to like it.”
Earlier this month, Revelator didn’t observe its posted business hours but a publicist attributed the unannounced closure to an employee shortage. “The entire staff is wiped out with the flu — the location is not closed for good!” Ellie Thomson of Polished Pig Media confirmed April 11. A sign to that effect was affixed to the café’s front door soon after The Post and Courier inquired.
Founded in New Orleans in 2014, Revelator Coffee the following year moved its headquarters to Birmingham; it’s now based in Atlanta. “Our theory is that a lot of people have developed coffee in the Northeast and Northwest, but not a lot of people have put money into the South,” Revelator president Josh Owen told Daily Coffee News at the time of Revelator’s launch.
It currently operates 17 cafes in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts and Tennessee, with another location planned for Los Angeles, according to Revelator’s website.