From Coffee House To Credit Union At Seventh & F – July 6, 2010

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

By Terrence McNally

Eye Business Editor

Finally, somebody is doing something serious with the old Sacred Grounds Organic Coffee shop at the corner of Seventh and F streets.

Sacred closed the café in June, 2007 to focus on wholesale marketing of its coffees. What followed for the café spot was a series of false starts and real stops.

Wide Awake Conscious Café took a lease on the location two years ago with the intention of mirroring its established South Lake Tahoe spot. The restaurant specialized in organic foods and coffees and appeared custom-made for Downtown Arcata.

However, economic downturns took a toll on WACC. The Lake Tahoe restaurant was closed and its Arcata plans jettisoned. Wide Awake was so deflated that the company didn’t bother to pick up its equipment installed mid-renovation, and lapsed on its lease payments.

Former Video Experience owner Tom Hildebrandt picked up everything, including the kitchen sink, for a song in January. Nostalgic Arcatans can still sit at a Sacred table at Hildebrandt’s GoGo Bistro in Henderson Center.

And there the location idled – until workers started a renovation last week.

Where people once whiled away the hours sipping Chai and solving the world's problems, where poets once drawled out wrenching paeans to alienation and rebellion, where Herbert Hilton more than once perused his Bible and scribbled unknowable wisdom into his notebooks, well, every trace of Sacred Grounds history is being gutted to make way for a modern Coast Central Credit Union office at Seventh and F streets. KLH | Eye

This one might be just as complicated as a restaurant as Seventh and F will soon house a bank. If anyone were to study the numbers of the likelihood of making a go there, you can bet the folks at Coast Central Credit Union did.

“We weathered that storm very well,” CCCU Marketing Director Dennis Hunter reports about the international recession that sank bigger and bolder banks. “We are a credit union and we are owned by our members, and we’ve been very serious in providing member service.”

While City workers might still miss grabbing a cup of joe at Sacred, at least they’ll be able to deposit their paychecks come mid-fall. According to Hunter, CCCU is planning to capitalize on the still-large HSU faculty and student populations for banking needs.

“We’ve had a lot of people ask us,” Hunter says about opening a downtown branch. “And we’ve been looking at this spot for a while.”

To date, downtown-centric Arcatans who are CCCU members have had to trek out to Valley West or use the credit union’s Arcata Co-op or Safeway automated teller machines.

Hunter said the new CCCU would serve those members as well as provide an additional ATM. And it’s been noted that A-towners who’ve become frustrated by multi-national financial conglomerates will no longer be able to cite “convenience” as a reason for not switching over to the credit union system.

Hunter estimates that the Uniontown Shopping Center CCCU will employ six to eight workers.

CCCU currently boasts 52,600 credit union members (HumCo.’s population is estimated at 129,000). The Downtown branch will join nine branches throughout Humboldt and one in Crescent City. Its ATM will add to the 20 already available.

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