Warner Robins coffee shop closes

WARNER ROBINS — The poor economy was finally too much, said Prinnie-Mack coffee shop owner Stephen Pollitt.

He and wife, Kathy, closed the coffee, sandwich and salad shop they opened three years ago Wednesday. It was at 100 Hospital Drive, across the street from the Houston Medical Center.

“You could almost track the stock market by our sales. If it went up, our sales went up the day after. But if it went down, they went down. But overall we were only doing about half the business we were a year ago, and that just was not enough to keep it going,” he said.

Pollitt said they will keep open the Prinnie-Mack coffee kiosk they opened about two months ago in the new wing of the hospital.

“Right now we’re losing money on it, but the hospital and hospital board are helping us out, and we think once the new wing is completely open and operating, business will pick up there,” he said. “We’ll have the coffee drinks and a limited selection of pre-made sandwiches and salads, but not the full selection we had at the coffee shop.”

Pollitt said he’ll be able to keep three of his 10 employees to work at the kiosk, but the others are now without a job.

“That’s the thing I hate most about this, having those seven good people having to go look for new jobs.”

Stephen Pollitt is a physician’s assistant at the Houston Medical Center emergency room, and Kathy Pollitt is an emergency room nurse in Macon.

“That’s why we started the coffee shop. Working in the emergency room is a very stressful job. We wanted to provide a place for the people who work at the hospital to go and relax and rest and get away from that for a while,” he said.

Pollitt said he hopes they will be able to reopen the coffee shop if the economy improves. They own the building and will continue to use it for the safe food service course they teach. “We’d love to be able to reopen. We’ve already gotten calls and e-mails today from customers who are sad to hear we’ve closed. But the economy has to get a lot better first.”

The only ones possibly happy with the closing are the coffee shop’s namesakes, Princess and Mack, the Pollitt’s two dogs.

“We may have time to be home with them a little more now,” Pollitt said.

To contact writer Chuck Thompson, call 923-6199, extension 235.