It hasn’t been a great run for Twin Cities kosher or Judaic businesses, with the closing of Fishman’s, Twin Cities Poultry and Brochin’s. But when Seven Stars Coffee House closed it’s doors for the last time on April 30, it had nothing to do with losing money or not bringing in customers.
For Kathy Rendleman, the owner of the Kosher-certified bakery in Edina, it was just time. Her three-year lease came to an end and she and her husband, Tyler, opted to not renew the lease.
“It was a great run,” Kathy said. “The Jewish community was great and supportive and the Edina community was sad. I had customers break down in tears. It’s just flour and sugar and cinnamon, but it’s more than that.”
Kathy wasn’t a professional baker or a business owner prior to opening Seven Stars. She was an engineering major in college before getting her MBA, but comes from a family with generations of bakers. One day she had a friend who wanted to do something different and wanted Kathy to do it with her.
Her friend decided a coffee shop wasn’t for her after the first year of being open, leaving Kathy and Tyler to operate it for the final two years.
“Life brings separate challenges and you play the hand you’re dealt,” she said. “I really wanted to see what the store could do and play out the lease and see what I could do on my own with a small business.”
She did it well. In 2011, her sesame bagel was ranked No. 85 in the City Pages annual list of 100 Favorite Dishes, placing higher than dishes from restaurants like Hell’s Kitchen and Blackbird.
What comes next for the building? She owns everything in the space, and is working with a broker to sell it. Kathy is hopeful that someone will want to come in and operate the space as a coffee shop — and preferably a kosher one.
“I can’t control what happens next,” she says. “If someone comes in and offers me money, I have to make a good business decision. The licensures and certifications are still on the wall. It’s ready to open.”
She said it was a tough time to close because this is the time of year when her business starts to pick up — even if doesn’t really feel like spring yet. But more than that, Kathy said her two biggest two concerns about closing were: Making sure the staff had jobs lined up, and the people who came in every morning — often senior citizens — for coffee and pastries.
All the staff have other jobs with the exception of one high school barista who wasn’t looking. And as for the community, that’s why Kathy kept the shop open a couple extra days to say her final goodbyes to the community. Now, Kathy gets to go home, back to her four kids.
“My goal was to come back to my first love and be with my family,” she said. “It was a great shop. It had everything I could imagine but the lifestyle.”