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Beloved Island cafe closing over rising rent, ‘negative’ impact of shelters

But the owner has found a ‘mini’ location for January move
Java Jo’s Cafe is known for hosting vintage car shows. (Java Jo’s Cafe photo/Facebook)

A downtown Victoria cafe known for its food and hosting vintage car shows will be closing down in the coming months over issues involving its current location, but the owner is planning on a rebirth at a “mini” location in 2024.

Java Jo’s Cafe at 3075 Douglas St. will close on Dec. 2, according to a post on the restaurant’s Facebook page.

“Thank you to everyone that has graced my happy place with their presence,” reads the post. “My little cafe has proven to me that dreams sure can come true. The amazing people I have met in the last 4.5 years I am so grateful for. The sounds of laughter and joy I’ve heard in my shop have made my heart so full. It’s been everything and more than I ever thought it could be! All my regulars that have been coming for years, supporting me & my amazing staff will forever be in my heart.”

The post said that the restaurant’s five-year lease is ending, which usually means a substantial rent hike, and “with much thought, I’ve sadly had to make an extremely difficult decision to close my little cafe.”

A series of issues have made running the business difficult, according to the post, including dealing with street crime.

“As everyone knows, it’s been a struggle with Covid & now the shelters surrounding my cafe, this has affected my business in a very negative way,” reads the post. “I have to make the hard call.”

The owner, however, expects to open a “mini Java Jo’s” in the area of Cook and Johnson Streets in January 2024.

“This will be a stepping stone towards finding a better location in the next two years,” reads the post. “So let’s all try not to be sad. Sometimes life throws us challenges, and we overcome them. It’s just another chapter. And my book ain’t done being written.”

Java Jo’s Cafe often hosts vintage car shows and the final one will be this Saturday (Sept. 23) from 6 to 8 p.m.

Customers showered the business with affection in response to the Facebook post.

“Your presence has brought together so many people; it’s no surprise that the successes you had at that location happened,” wrote one customer. “You figured out what the people needed and made it happen time and time again. And for that, we thank you.”

“You have made your little cafe feel like home to everyone,” wrote Deb Hall. “You have the best staff, amazing food and I love coming there. It’s always a pleasure and loads of fun and laughs and some serious talks when I come in and it’s been the best. I look forward to seeing your new location and can’t wait to see where your dreams take you for your next cafe/chapter.”

“You built such a unique and amazing little cafe with great people on both sides of the counter,” wrote Nathaniel Verran.

READ MORE: Victoria restaurant sets last service after being ‘knocked sideways’ by pandemic

Chris Campbell

About the Author: Chris Campbell

I joined the Victoria News hub as an editor in 2023, bringing with me over 30 years of experience from community newspapers in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley
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