Prepare to say farewell to the square donut. Due to declining revenue, the owners of 4Corners Coffee have decided to cease operations at the Airport Road location and look ahead to the next big thing. The closure will take place effective Dec. 23.
“We thought we came up with an exciting concept, but over time we've seen that idea to not be sustainable,” said Ed Brady, the Cranston city councilman and restaurateur who co-owns the property with Jeff Quinlan and Justin Erikson, along with multiple other properties throughout the state. “We love creating brands. There's no point continuing to invest in a brand we feel isn't working.”
The brand for this venture included offering a unique food combination within the same building. Shortly after 4Corner’s grand opening in May of 2017, Pink Pig BBQ – the Jamestown joint owned by Jason Pannone – opened up in conjunction and began selling in-house smoked barbeque alongside the donuts and breakfast foods.
“The vision was to share space with two different brands to increase revenue,” Brady said, giving the example of KFC and Taco Bell joining forces to share space with significantly different offerings and doing it successfully. “One wouldn’t think fried chicken and tacos would work, but they’ve seen that become a success.”
At the onset of business, 4Corners couldn’t keep donuts on the racks for more than a couple hours. Reviews of the store have always trended at three and a half to four stars or higher, depending on the rating platform. Brady insisted during an interview Wednesday that the problem wasn’t the quality of the food. In fact, he wishes that he had the answer to what exactly caused revenue to go stagnant in the second year of operation.
“I wish I could pinpoint that or we wouldn’t be in this situation,” he said. “Year one was great, and we've seen this year to be very tough. I can’t put blame on the Warwick community. We saw in year one they came out pretty strongly.”
Brady said ownership let employees of the store know about the impending closure two months ahead of time, and gave them the opportunity to apply at other businesses within their umbrella. Brady and his partners operate multiple restaurants, including two Thirsty Beaver locations (Smithfield and Cranston) and Milk Money in Providence. Another Warwick-located restaurant, Hucks Filling Station, is in the works now and set to open next year in the spring.
“We wanted to make sure we did them [the employees] right because they've been working really hard for us,” Brady said.
Unfortunately, 4Corners joins the growing list of businesses that have occupied that space and ultimately failed to stay open, including a Taco Bell and, most recently before 4Corners, the Eggroll Cafe. However, this doesn’t mean Brady and his partners are simply going to tuck and run. They’ve already reached out to their fans and customers on Facebook to ask for ideas about what could go into the Airport Road property next.
“A lot of people have great ideas,” Brady said, adding they are already getting 20-30 emails a day from people offering their ideas on what to open next at the spot. “We're looking for passionate people that have some great ideas and hopefully we can put our money behind.”
Brady said that he was confidence that the ownership group could have the next big idea as soon as after Christmas and then get the gears turning to open up a new place within two to three months into the new year.