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Councilwoman closing downtown Hagerstown business

Ashley C. Haywood changes focus from coffee shop to a catering, cooking class and locavore grocery service

September 27, 2011|By KATE S. ALEXANDER | kate.alexander@herald-mail.com
  • In this 2008 file photo, Ashley C. Haywood is shown in her coffee shop, Skyline Coffee Co., which she is closing.
Herald-Mail file photo

After just four years, entrepreneur and elected official Ashley C. Haywood said she is closing her business, Skyline Coffee Co., to focus on another, more successful venture, Skyline Food Source.

Haywood was unavailable for comment this week on the announcement of her business closing. However, she sent a letter to the editor of The Herald-Mail detailing the change.

"I am happy to say that the (coffee) shop will be closed for good at the end of October," she wrote in her letter to the editor. "I am doing downtown no favors by continuing to operate a business that just doesn't work."

However, Haywood, a city councilwoman and chief executive officer of Skyline Food Source, said in the letter that she is not abandoning downtown.

Skyline Food Source, a catering, cooking class and locavore grocery service that was born out of Haywood's initiative to eat only locally sourced food for one year, will continue to operate as a city-center business from 6 W. Washington St., she said.

"Just not in a storefront capacity," she wrote. "We have an office overlooking the square and rent kitchen space downtown."

A sign indicating the presence of Skyline Food Source will soon appear downtown, she said.

Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II said Tuesday that while he was sorry to see the coffee shop leave downtown, he knows that Skyline Food Source has "really taken off," and is a good step for Haywood.

Skyline Coffee Co. opened four years ago with six ambitious business partners and a "bad business model from day one," Haywood wrote in her letter.

In its four years, she said, the ownership has not quite paid off most of the debt incurred to open.

"I didn't give myself the opportunity for the business to truly succeed and this is something I take responsibility for," she wrote.

As a business owner, Haywood said she has learned from her mistakes with Skyline Coffee and as a result, Skyline Food Source was created using a different, stronger business model that has met with success.

By the end of 2012, she said in her letter, she projects Skyline Food Source will grow to three full-time jobs, which downtown needs in order to support operations like a coffee shop.

"I hope that in a few years I can open another retail operation downtown, but this time I want to do it the right way," she wrote.

Skyline Food Source offers catering, grocery delivery and cooking classes. Its website is http://skylinefoodsource.com.

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