Rose and Fern Closes After Multiple Challenges to the Business

Cici Copenhaver, Staff Writer

 On December 31, local Traverse City café Rose and Fern permanently closed. Located on 8th street near Potter’s bakery, the café offered an LGBTQ+ friendly atmosphere as well as locally sourced products and pastries from the bakery and local businesses.

  Owner Becky Trenchall stated on the cafe’s website that a combination of “COVID, political divisiveness, and customer entitlement” all contributed to the closing. In an earlier post announcing the closing, Trenchall said, “The lease for our Eighth St. space is up at the end of 2021, and despite offering higher rent, structural improvements, and even an outright purchase of the building, the landlords have made it clear that they don’t share the values of our community-focused cafe.”

  Becky Stoeckel, the daughter of the founders of Potter’s Bakery, took to Facebook on June 25, 2021, to address “publishing of articles and what-nots by Rose and Fern’s Becky Trenchall.” In the Facebook video, she says, “That space [Rose and Fern café] is meant to be an adjoining space to the Potter’s bakery storefront and we haven’t been able to coexist well…at all. And that was never meant to be shared publicly, but it is now and it’s out there and that’s okay.” She goes on to say, “We truly hope that Becky and her team and her community find a space perfect for them where they can keep putting out the incredible food that they do.”

  Before its final days, the café switched to take-out only to reduce labor and increase profits, while putting less pressure on the staff. But for devoted customers, all hope is not lost. Trenchall states that although the Rose and Fern lease is up, she will continue to look for new locations to house the café. She notes she’s looking for a location that is over 1400 square feet, located in Traverse City with a kitchen and enough space to elevate the Rose and Fern cuisine.

  However, Trenchall marks some limitations, saying, “I’m prepared for a build-out. That’s not the issue. The issue is paying $400K+ to build out someone else’s space, while also paying rent. I need long-term stability and full autonomy. Otherwise, it’s too much debt with too little security.”