November 23, 2002 - News Observer: Morocco RPCV David T. Fowle closes Coffee Shop

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Morocco: Peace Corps Morocco : The Peace Corps in Morocco: November 23, 2002 - News Observer: Morocco RPCV David T. Fowle closes Coffee Shop

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Morocco RPCV David T. Fowle closes Coffee Shop

Morocco RPCV David T. Fowle closes Coffee Shop

Grounds for bitterness: 'Coffee guy' closes shop

By DUDLEY PRICE, Staff Writer

RALEIGH -- Friday, dozens of downtown coffee drinkers got a jolt of bad news along with their daily dose of caffeine: David T. Fowle was closing up his shop at noon -- for good.

For nine years, Fowle has served up a daily stream of friendly banter along with steaming cups of flavorful coffee from a small stand in the lobby of the Sheraton Capital Center hotel on the Fayetteville Street Mall.

His customers have included many of the city's power brokers, some of whom rushed to get one last cup Friday morning as news of his closing spread.

"This is a sad day," said Thomas McGuire, executive director of the A.J. Fletcher Foundation, who learned of the closing when he walked down from his office on the mall for his daily cup of brew.

"I looked forward to going down there every day to see Dave, meet people; and the coffee's so good -- the best in the city," McGuire said. "Dave creates the ambiance; he knows your name; and my coffee's ready by the time I get to the head of the line."

Sheraton Manager Suzanne Hinde said that Fowle told her Monday he didn't want to renew the lease, and she was looking to fill the space with another coffee vendor, perhaps a Starbucks franchise.

Fowle, 40, would say only that he will be looking at other opportunities after taking a few weeks off to be with his family.

Technically the coffee shop was named Cafe Udine. But for his loyal customers, the brew was simply Dave's coffee; he was The Coffee Guy.

Those loyal customers included lawyer Reef Ivey and former chairman of the UNC board of governors Sam Poole, who stopped by every morning to swap sports stories. County Manager David Cooke was a regular, as was Jim Goodmon, president of Capital Broadcast Co., who liked his coffee a little hotter than other customers did. Fowle was happy to warm it for him.

Progress Energy executive William Johnson liked the coffee so much he began buying it in bulk to serve in the utility's executive offices across the street. And public-relations executive Jim Hughes, who had moved temporarily to Hilton Head, S.C., always made a point of stopping by when he was in town.

Fowle's coffee career started after a stint in the Peace Corps in Africa. When he returned to this country, he got a job with a San Francisco man who owned a chain of espresso bars and worked in coffee shops in Seattle and Atlanta. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he returned to the area with his wife, Liz, to start a family in Raleigh. His first local coffee venture was a kiosk at Two Hannover Square. From there he moved next door to the Sheraton lobby.

Not any more.

"We're all here in mourning," said lawyer Margaret Westbrook as she waited with 15 other customers for their last cup of Dave's coffee.

Staff writer Dudley Price can be reached at 829-4525 or

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Story Source: News Observer

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Morocco; Coffee; Business



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