Fresno's Iron Bird Cafe shutdown, again

January 4, 2013 12:28:37 AM PST
Fresno's Iron Bird Cafe has once again closed for business -- a closure that's reignited conversations about the future of Downtown Fresno.

Employee Elisa Miranda learned of the closure after arriving at work Thursday and finding the doors locked and a sign posted. Miranda missed a staff meeting Wednesday. "I didn't know they were going to be closing. I thought they were doing pretty good, business wise," said Miranda.

Iron Bird Cafe opened last February under new ownership after a cafe with the same name also closed its doors in 2011. On Facebook, owners of the cafe said rising food, coffee, and business costs led to the cafe's closure. They also said they continue believe in the potential of the cafe and Downtown Fresno.

The cafe is part of the Iron Bird Lofts -- one of Granville's several mixed use developments in Downtown Fresno. The closure comes as work continues on another project. Though the residential developments have done well, Fresno's Downtown and Community Revitalization Director Craig Scharton says that's just a part of a healthy downtown. "We'll probably never be able to build enough units to support a vibrant downtown. They're an important part of the mix, but really it's doing things that are going to do bring in throughout the region. It doesn't matter if its San Francisco or New York, those economies survive because people are consistently coming in and supporting them," said Scharton.

Scharton says revitalizing other neighborhoods near downtown is also important. Though the café's closure is considered a setback by some, the owner of Beautiology, a salon just a few doors down, continues to believe in revitalization. "'It's our version of San Francisco but it's in our backyard. And I feel like downtown, the revitalization, has a lot of potential. I'm going to stay here and see if it will grow. And I'm sure it will," said Julie Darasaeng.