The La Brea Tar Pit of business ventures, Eagle Ranch, has snagged another victim. At a glance, H.P.’s Provisions might seem like a depressingly common recipe for disaster – just the sort of slightly upscale deli and coffee shop that Eagle Ranch has failed to support since Zach’s Eagle Ranch withered up and died oh-so-many moons ago. Like some hungry Pleistocene saber-cat, H.P.’s Provisions apparently looked at the suspicious corpses all around and sensed nothing but opportunity. Those of us with access to the fossil record have reason to be slightly more pessimistic.
Built atop the resting place of the Eagle Ranch Starbucks – that’s right, Eagle Ranch even killed a Starbucks – H.P.’s Provisions looks like a cautionary tale in the making. Cheery, bright-eyed staff? Check. Spotless floors and tables with inside and outside seating? Check. Recklessly optimistic closing time of 9 p.m.? Check.
Ah, the 9 p.m. closing time. The Eagle Ranch Starbucks tried this, as did Zach’s Eagle Ranch and Yeti’s Grind, downtown. When Smoothie King (remember Smoothie King, late of Eagle Ranch?) offered French Pressed coffee for the after-movie crowd, I was among those who thought it might be a good idea – and it SHOULD be a good idea, except that the “after-movie crowd” doesn’t seem to materialize here in Eagle outside of Brush Creek Saloon or the Dusty Boot.
All that aside, there are reasons to be cautiously optimistic about H.P.’s Provisions. Of all the coffee shops that have stood in Eagle Ranch, H.P.’s has the best espresso drinks by far. What H.P.’s beverages lack in style and latte art they make up in an enviable consistency for a local shop. H.P.’s also sports some solid, if pricey, deli and dessert offerings – as well as an attached boutique grocery. Considering the closest gallon of milk for sale was until now across Route Six, this could be a big deal for folks living within walking distance.
This ambitious coffee shop / deli / grocery boutique business plan might just be robust enough to keep H.P.’s Provision from sinking into the tar. It isn’t impossible – the Dusty Boot has managed to not only thrive in Eagle Ranch, but actually spin off Luigi’s Pasta House across the street – it’s just really, really hard. Here’s hoping H.P.’s Provisions has what it takes.
2013 Update: I am happy to report that H.P.’s Provisions is alive and well in 2013! The 9 p.m. closing time proved too ambitious, and the shop now shuts down at a respectable 7:30 most summer evenings. I am very glad the shop has managed to survive – it adds a lot to Eagle Ranch. Here’s hoping for several more successful years!