Main Street coffee shop Muddy Waters has shut down for unknown reasons, leaving students and coffee enthusiasts alike with one less local option for caffeinated beverages. The shop sits currently with all of its furnishings still intact and has been that way since early June. It is unclear whether current owner Jacob Kane plans to reopen the popular spot for students or if he is trying to sell it as is.
Former Muddy Waters employee senior Jodi Bentivegna said that this is now the third Muddy Waters to close in the last few years. “[Kane] had two previous Muddy Waters in Rochester that shut down before this one,” Bentivegna said. The closure was not only a surprise to many students who returned from summer break but also to the employees. “We were never told that the business was going to shut down. In fact, I was told I could work through the summer. When I came back from vacation, [Kane] was very vague about my work schedule and then the shop closed,” she said.
Kane employed mostly students, roughly six to seven at any given time. According to Bentivegna, Kane had to lay off a manager as he couldn’t pay a competitive manager’s wage. “[Kane] hired student managers that he paid minimum wage,” she said. Muddy Waters is also known for its open mic nights, which would attract a reasonable crowd. Kane did not run these events, however. “The guy who ran the open mic was a Rochester local who got paid to run the event, but Kane didn’t have much to do with anything like that. He was never around, and expected the business to really run itself,” Bentivegna said. Kane could not be reached for comment at press time.
While the fate of Muddy Waters is unclear, it can be expected to sit dormant for a the foreseeable future as rent payments for the venue have continued to come in, according to Bentivegna who is familiar with the landlord. Muddy Waters joins other Main Street neighbors that have closed this semester, such as the Sundance Books textbook store.