The Fine Grind’s Wayne Location Reaches an Oddly Bright End

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Published February 7, 2019
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The Montclarion
Current and former employees of The Fine Grind gather around a counter at Wayne's Fine Grind location. Anthony Gabbianelli | The Montclarion

One of the staple off-campus hangouts for Montclair State University students closed its doors as The Fine Grind in Wayne, New Jersey served its last cup of coffee at that location on Jan. 25.

According to The Fine Grind’s owner, Rhonda Mallek, the coffee bar’s second location is closing due to the town’s overhead, aka the price of rent.

“What happened is this store was running at a deficit,” Mallek said. “The overhead here was out of proportion compared to the sales we were making.”

Mallek discussed how they were well-loved but still had difficulties.

“We were relatively busy and we were getting repeat business from many people who loved The Fine Grind, but the operating expenses at this location were just too high to continue,” Mallek said.

Established in the early spring of 2017, the owners of The Fine Grind made the difficult decision to close down the Wayne location two weeks prior to the day of closing, but Mallek believes this should only help the flagship location in Little Falls, New Jersey in the future.

“It will actually impact [the Little Falls location] in a positive way,” Mallek said. “The location in Little Falls, which was doing really well two years ago, was starting to have financial problems because of all the money that was going in the Wayne store.”

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The Fine Grind has been open in Wayne for two years. It closed on Jan. 25. Anthony Gabbianelli | The Montclarion

Mallek hopes for the best and knows this will benefit the other store.

“This decision is going to save the Little Falls store as soon as we level off the price of goods from here,” Mallek said.

The Fine Grind in Little Falls, according to an article published by The Montclarion, closed for nine days last October due to “financial hardships,” only to reopen.

Located off Berdan Avenue in Wayne, the coffee bar neighbored Wayne Hills High School. Many students, whether it was during their lunch break or after school, went there to relax and hang out with their friends. High school senior Paige Boatwright worked at The Fine Grind in Wayne after school.

Boatwright has been working at both the Wayne and Little Falls locations for the past five months and will now be working just at the Little Falls location.

“It’s not that much of a switch for me,” Boatwright said. “I still will very much miss this location.”

While the store was in Wayne, many Montclair State students made their way from campus down Route 46 to grab their favorite cup of coffee. Chris Pierinelli, a senior hospitality management major, commutes from Wayne to campus and has spent time at Wayne’s Fine Grind.

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A sign thanks customers for their business and is placed at the front of The Fine Grind in Wayne. Flyers were also given out to encourage customers to go to the Little Falls location. Anthony Gabbianelli | The Montclarion

“It was like one of the only things to do in Wayne,” Pierinelli said. “I’m definitely sad to see it go because my friends and I would go just to hang out.”

Pierinelli still plans to make the trip to The Fine Grind in Little Falls after classes.

“I actually go to that one more than the one in Wayne,” Pierinelli said. “It just stinks to not have it as close when I’m not on campus.”

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