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Kaya Coffee House's 'Save Kaya' event brings supporters, local band


The owners of Kaya Coffee House don’t want to relocate -- but if they do -- they said there's a potential new location nearby.

“There’s no contract signed so I don’t want to say where it is,” co-owner Emily Miller said at a 'Save Kaya' event Feb. 8. "But It’s very close to where we are right now, and it’s another small business that wants to help us out.”

The coffee shop, which has been in business for more than 15 years, faces possible eviction. The former SBX Bookstore building and location of Kaya could be rezoned from a commercial to a residential area. If the rezoning happens, the building will likely be purchased by United Apartments for residential use.

The future of the shop depends on a decision that will be made by the Mount Pleasant City Commission at a public hearing Feb. 13.

The owners hope to spur supporters to show up to support the business at the public hearing.

Miller teared up while offering her gratitude to Kaya supporters.

“I cannot believe the amount of love, support and everything that we’ve been given,” the former Central Michigan University student said. “It’s insane. We could not ask for better followers, supporters, and customers. We love everyone.”

Grand Rapids native Maddy Peters plays Cello for the band Kavazabava, which performed at the event. She said the coffee house was the first place to give the band a performance space.

“It’s cliche -- but home is where the heart is,” the junior said. “We’ll follow Kaya forever. It’s such a welcoming place for everyone to step through the doors and feel like they aren’t being judged.”

Victoria Saylor attended because she wants to save her favorite place in Mount Pleasant.

“Kaya has been woven into my college experience from day one,” the Jackson senior said. “To think that it’d be torn down is infuriating -- this is a piece of culture.”

Catherine Powell agreed and said she visits the shop “every day” and that it’s a place where she feels “very safe.” Both students said that they would attend the public hearing.

“It’s hard to think about freshmen here, and think that they won’t get to have the same experiences that we’ve had,” the Milford senior said.

Kaya is the only business located in the property, and Saylor said she appreciates the economic reality the city faces.

“I understand that we live in a capitalist society and it’s very easy to focus on what might be financially or residentially best for the area,” Saylor said. “I want to ask (the commission) to allow the CMU community to keep a piece of its culture.”

Both students said they will attend the public hearing.

“I’m sure the owners will fight for plan B, plan C and plan D,” Saylor said. “But I’m here to fight for plan A. I hope Kaya exists no matter what but right now I’m fighting for Kaya to exist right here where it belongs.” 

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