Croissant kerfuffle

Perhaps you’ve heard that the eagerly anticipated La Boulangerie opened a couple of weeks ago.  The four-seater bakery/crêperie has opened to much ado about an agreement it made that it would not sell coffee or individual croissants in order to secure a lease at this 2569 N. Milwaukee Avenue location.

Inside La Boulangerie Overlooking Logan Square

This has many neighbors up in arms.  Sacré Beurre!  You can’t eat buy just one croissant or un café.  But this is because those are the terms La Boulangerie agreed to. 

When New Wave Coffee negotiated its lease, probably two and a half years ago or more now, it protected its business venture by securing the exclusive rights to sell soup, sandwiches, coffee and baked goods in this building at the southeast corner of Logan Boulevard and Milwaukee Avenue.  New Wave does not have any say or standing in any building in the neighborhood except this one where it has a lease.

Meanwhile, Cook au Vin was cooking up crêpes each summer at the Farmers Market, and during the 2009 season, after Western Union had moved out of the corner storefront, I’m told Cook au Vin owner Vincent Columbet just fell in love with the space and thought it perfect for La Boulangerie.  I give him due credit for having vision as the place was a mess.

As Columbet pursued leasing the space, he discovered the existing restrictions on the building.  Earlier this year New Wave was willing to negotiate with him so that he could in fact sell bread, baked goods by the dozen, and crêpes.  Without New Wave’s consent and giving on some terms, La Boulangerie would have had to choose a different space than the one Columbet fell in love with.  After all this hullabaloo, I wish it had.  There are still many choices on Milwaukee Avenue. 

But it didn’t, and I hope the croissant kerfuffle blows over.  Rather than blaming New Wave, I hope La Boulangerie starts to explain to its customers that the reason they cannot buy a single croissant is because La Boulangerie agreed to those terms in order to set up shop at this fabulous location. 

And then sell those croissants!  They’re delicious!  Go ahead, buy a dozen; share them with your office, friends or neighbors.

 
Scene in Logan Square:

Summer Sessions on the Square:  Saturday, September 25, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Logan Square monument, this month featuring Aloha Lives!, The Doug Rosenberg Quartet, and The Bottle and Stone Battalion.

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5 Responses to Croissant kerfuffle

  1. AnnWithNoE says:

    The Boulangerie folks are only telling one side of the story, and are making New Wave to be the villains. And there’s no need for that. It seems silly to pick a fight over croissants. The neighborhood can, and most likely will, support both businesses.

    • I’m with you Ann. I’m glad to have both. ~ Lynn

      • Mary says:

        Everyone would be glad to have both. New Wave should learn to protect their investment not by blocking competition, but by making and providing a product worth having. I see no reason to support a local business that isn’t willing to put their money where their mouth is and support local businesses themselves! Maybe they should take an example from Revolution and Cole’s down the street. Both businesses are thriving and completely supportive of one another. Thoroughly disappointing with New Wave.

        Two differences tho Mary: Cole’s and Revolution Brewing are not in the same building, and Revolution Brewing (as the latest of the two to open) did not agree to restrict its sales of anything. ~ Lynn

  2. rms says:

    Thanks for clearing this up! I am so surprised by the vitriol toward New Wave. I draft a lot of commercial leases and it is totally customary (not to mention good business)for a retail tenant to require that the lease contain a provision granting that business the right to be the only business of its type in the building. So, for example, if a Mexican restaurant opens up in a multi-tenant building, the lease will usually prohibit any future tenant from having a menu mainly consisting of Mexican food.
    New Wave has done nothing wrong in this scenario. As you stated, La Boulangerie had plenty of options on Milwaukee Ave. which would not have come with such restrictions. They made the business decision to stay with this space.

    I’m with you rms. This is another one where I ask myself, what am I missing? It seems as though the hullabaloo has died down. Perhaps La Boulangerie staff are telling a different narrative now. (I hope.) ~ Lynn

  3. Ben says:

    The only problem is that New Wave is being smug about the whole deal. If they provided croissants all day, every day, we might have a different story. However, they only provide a few in the morning and they always run out and they still prevent La Boulangerie from selling croissants for most of the day . . . long after there nominal inventory has been depleted.

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