Monday, February 11, 2013

Thanks, Frank Hankins of SOVA for a great five years on H Street

Frank Hankins has been the owner-operator of SOVA -- a great coffee shop and winebar at 1359 H Street -- for the past five years.  If you've ever been to SOVA, you've probably met Frank.  Indeed, if you've ever spent any time on H Street, you've probably seen Frank whether at SOVA or somewhere else.  Frank has been a key player in H Street's rebirth -- his coffee shop acts as a makeshift office for meetings about planned new businesses along H Street's western end, serves as a neighborhood gathering place, and hosts Councilmember Tommy Wells' month H Street Community Office Hours and a weekly bluegrass night.  Frank loves H Street.  He gets excited about new businesses and attends their opening receptions.  He also contributes coffee to various community functions, including Sherwood Neighborhood Volunteers events, among others.  Frank is a good guy and he provides something unique and special at SOVA.  So it is with sadness that I share Frank's news that he will no longer be part of SOVA.  While the business appears slated to continue under new ownership, Frank is an important part of SOVA and H Street and he will be missed.  Frank Hankins' SOVA closes Sunday, February 17.  Expect the downstairs coffee shop to continue largely unchanged, but a brief hiatus in service at the upstairs wine bar while changes occur.  We'll share more as we have it, Frank's farewell message follows.

Dear customers, friends & neighbors,

After 5 plus years in business, SOVA will cease operations after close of business next Sunday, the 17th. There will be an ownership change, and I'm certain other changes with be forthcoming. Between me and the new ownership, we'll try to make the transition as seamless as possible. Customers will still see the same faces behind the coffee bar, and the bar upstairs will be closed for a short time while licensing issues get resolved.

We had some great times, but there were also some very difficult times over the last 6 plus years since I moved into the space. In a nutshell, we opened when H St wasn't hip at all. Running a business 7 days a week, morning, noon, and night took its toll financially and otherwise until we could grow a sustainable customer base, and it's still developing. I wish the new ownership well, and I hope the neighborhood gets what they want. I was very proud to be one of the first newer businesses to open on H St, but I paid the price for getting here early. Especially having to deal with the 3 plus years of construction on the street.

Most importantly, I'm going to miss all the great people that became good friends. Thank you for your support over the years.

You stay classy, H St. I'm out!

Happy trails,
Frank Hankins

1 comment:

  1. Good luck, Frank! SOVA as is will definitely be missed. Great comfy, intimate space to hang with friends. As H Street becomes more Adams Morgan- and 14th-Street like, we'll be losing more and more places like this. I'm going to miss H Street.