The little coffee shop that could gets the boot

SEATTLE -- A legendary South Lake Union coffee shop known for rabble rousing, politically incorrect T-shirts and trolley criticism is being forced to close its doors and move, and its customers are none too pleased.

For more than ten years, locals have been visiting Kapow! Coffee to get their morning caffeine fix. You can get coffee anywhere in Seattle, but customers say what Kapow! offers can't be replaced.

It's not the lattes that makes the coffee stop an icon; it's all the extras, including its one-of-a-kind atmosphere and its community involvement.

"It's nice to go into a place that's not a chain, that has a sense of humor where you can talk about economics or politics or whatever, said Janessa Jameson.

While virtually everything around them has changed, Kapow! has managed to stay the same while playing off the changes around them.
"We've been watching everything around us kind of come and go," said Angela Baker, the shop's owner.

The little coffee shop is the birthplace of the popular Seattle Lake Union Tram (SLUT) T-shirts, as well as the idea for a 300-foot statue of developer Paul Allen.

"Have fun, just have fun. We always have. This is just not a conventional coffee house by any means," said Baker.

But, it seems, the shop's fun has run out. Last week the shop received a letter that stated she has 30 days to vacate; the building's owner has other plans.

"We moved in at one type of neighborhood, and we're leaving before the next type of neighborhood is ready," said Baker.

But in a city with a coffee shop on every corner, Kapow's loyal customers want to make sure the shop doesn't go kaput.

Some are trying to find a new space for the shop. Others have written e-mails to Paul Allen and his company, Vulcan, asking them to step in as the "white knight" and save their favorite coffee shop.

"I hate to see them go, I really do. I want to have my morning coffee here every morning," said Mark Taylor-Canfield.

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