Tower's Hi-Top Coffee closed effective today, citing impacts from the pandemic and inflation. Photo by Ben Hensley
Written by Gabriel Dillard
Popular Tower District spot Hi-Top Coffee has closed effective immediately.
The announcement came via Instagram on July 4, citing the pandemic as a primary factor.
It’s for “purely economic reasons,” said Hi-Top Coffee barista Mike Wilson in an interview Tuesday. “It was challenging through Covid especially — rearranged our work dynamic, so to say.”
“Ultimately, we just felt it was best in terms of employee wellbeing [and] management wellbeing,” he said.
Despite closing the storefront, which has been open at 1306 Wishon Ave. since 2017, Hi-Top Coffee still hopes to sell products online, including wholesale ground coffee and, in the future, bottled and canned coffee.
“HT cafe wouldn’t be what it is without the baristas and we feel lucky to say that we were able to offer our staff a couple of weeks’ pay and a severance in hopes of making this transition easier on them,” the Instagram post reads.
Wilson expanded on the store’s reasoning to close effective today.
“Patterns amongst everything in terms of customer turnout, increased cost of goods, inflation’s a massive one,” Wilson said. “We were never intent to raise our prices — that was never something we sought out to do — but it became a necessity, and that started to compromise…what we would want to provide for our Tower community.”
Hi-Top Coffee does hope to have one final “cafe day,” according to the Instagram post, although the date is not yet set.
“It has been nothing short of a privilege to serve and be part of this wonderful, unique and unmatched community in Fresno,” the Instagram post reads.