flying goat closed

Flying Goat’s satellite shop at 419 Center St. to remain open, owners looking at other possible locations near Plaza

Coffee lovers and Flying Goat Coffee regulars may have noticed that the coffee house, which has been open for 26 years at 324 Center St., recently shuttered its doors. While the closure of the cafe is a sad occasion for many, patrons will be happy to know that their satellite location — affectionately known as Baby Goat — at 419 Center St., will remain open every day for grab-and-go coffee.

“It is a bittersweet departure from that original building,” said Phil Anacker, Flying Goat Coffee co-founder and managing partner. “Long story short is that we had our rent nearly doubled on us last year and the location is no longer sustainable for us.”

Flying Goat Coffee was the first and only coffee roaster in Healdsburg when it opened in August of 1994.

The company also has the unique feature of being the first roastery in the country to buy coffee directly from coffee bean farmers themselves from Ethiopia, South American and other coffee growing regions, according to Anacker.

“It was a very different time back then when we started the business, rent was a lot more affordable … We have a commitment to providing staff with a living wage, which is hard to do these days in Sonoma County. With that kind of rent the math no longer worked for us,” Anacker said of the closure of the 324 Center location.

They were going through negotiations with their landlord in March when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and they had to temporarily close. He said the cafe was a difficult space to open amid COVID protocols and that, coupled with the increased rent, led to a business situation that would have been unsustainable.

“It didn’t look feasible to sustain the operation that we had there. We had offices and a bakery there as well and it was just too expensive to do all of that on a plaza rent, so we officially closed that location sadly,” Anacker said. “We wanted to try to make it work.”

As soon as Flying Goat closed its doors and moved out, many local coffee and tea drinkers shared Anacker’s woe regarding the closure of the shop.

Many posted photos of the empty storefront on social media, lamenting about its seemingly abrupt end and sharing fond memories of time spent sipping hot drinks.

For many the shop wasn’t just a place to get a cup of coffee or a latte, it was a Healdsburg staple rooted in community. Residents, local workers and tourists alike visited the shop to enjoy its serene atmosphere, meet up with friends, hold a work meeting or even to grab a dog-friendly cookie for their pet.

Anacker said while he knew it was a downtown hotspot, he didn’t realize it would be missed by so many.

He said plans are in the works to open another retail location somewhere on the Plaza “sometime soon.”

The project is still in the works and nothing has been signed yet, but Anacker is hopeful they could have a location in the next few months or sometime in the near future.

In the meantime, folks can grab their Goat coffee fix at the 419 Center location. The quick stop is open every day from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Flying Goat has an additional location in Santa Rosa’s Railroad Square will also remain open.

Anacker said not many people knew about the smaller Center Street location since they kept it quiet so that locals could get their drink and be in and out quickly without having to deal with the tourist rush.

“It has been even more popular since the other store has closed,” he said.

While the location may have changed, he said their goal of serving great coffee will remain the same.

“We take our role very seriously as being Healdsburg’s original coffee roaster. We’re not giving up,” he said.

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