Downtown veteran-owned coffee and tea shop to close for good this weekend

The last days that you can grab a cold brew or a sandwich at Long Beach Coffee & Tea will be this weekend as the Downtown cafe announced that it would be closing its doors permanently after nearly three years of business.

In a Facebook post Tuesday morning, the shop said its last days of business will be Friday and Saturday, when it will be hosting a flash sale of cold brew growlers, tea tins and food, according to the statement.

“We gave it our best shot,” the post said. “We know it’s been tough on a lot of people, not just us but we had to make the difficult decision before we found ourselves losing everything.”

The shop was launched in 2018 by military veterans Tom West and Shannon Francis with hopes of both filling the community with tasty coffees and sandwiches, but also to meet a higher need. The two hoped to form a nonprofit that could help connect transgender adolescents and teens with transgender adults who have gone through the struggle of connecting with their identity.

Over the years the shop and its patrons have donated clothing, meals and encouragement to the veteran community. The shop also hosted an annual “Angel Tree” event where community members could pick an ornament off a Christmas Tree with items that a veteran was in need of and return the items to help veterans during the holidays.

While the coffee and tea shop is closing, the two owners are moving on to focus on a nonprofit they’ve founded to help military veterans and K9s transition from service-life to life as civilians.

“Operation: Transition Outside the Wire” will operate on a ranch that the couple plans to build in Northern Arizona where it hopes to accept its first veterans later this year.

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Jason Ruiz has been covering City Hall for the Post for nearly a decade. A Long Beach resident, Ruiz graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a degree in journalism. He and his wife Kristina and, most importantly, their dog Mango, live in Long Beach. He is a particularly avid fan of the Dallas Cowboys and the UCLA Bruins, which is why he sometimes comes to work after the weekend in a grumpy mood.