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An Epic End of an Era Approaches in Petworth “Our lease is expiring near the end of 2019 and I have chosen not to renew it.”


3917 Georgia Ave, NW at opening back in 2009

“Dear PoPville,

It looks like the building that houses Qualia is on the market. The listing makes it sound like tenants won’t be sticking around.”

From Qualia Coffee’s owner Joel Finkelstein:

“Our lease is expiring near the end of 2019 and I have chosen not to renew it. We have been in business in that location for just over nine years now, the past four continuously. As anyone who has visited Qualia on a busy day may attest, the physical space simply is not equipped to handle the level of traffic we are now seeing.

In addition to the annoyances this causes for both our staff and our customers, it also imposes substantial inefficiencies that have undermined our financial success. We are exploring all options for buying the building or finding some other way to remain in Petworth. Either way, there is a high likelihood that we will have to close down for a period during any renovations.

On a personal note, I have worked very hard over the past decade to ensure that Qualia has acted as much as a community space as an expression of my own passion for great coffee. The neighborhood has changed a lot over that time, and while I would like to believe that we have played an integral role in that process, I am not convinced that we still serve an indispensable service to our neighbors.

Ed. Note: It’s hard to explain the massive impact Qualia had when they first opened back in 2009. Along with Domku, Qualia chose to invest and become an integral part of Petworth before many had even heard of Upshur Street. Here’s to hoping they ultimately find a space that fits their needs – and if they don’t – all who love the Petworth that thrives today – owe them a big debt of gratitude. In the meantime, you can show some love in person for another year and a half at least!

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