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VIDEO: AJ's Cafe Says Goodbye to Ferndale

Owner A.J. O'Neil says he's proud of his coffee shop's role as the "living room of Ferndale" and says the spirit of the shop will live on.

closed its doors for the last time Saturday night after the downtown coffee shop that made headlines over the past five years for its supporting America's auto industry.

Owner A.J. O'Neil said running the cafe, which many called the "living room of Ferndale," became unaffordable but that he will continue to sell his coffee online at www.ajscoffeeworks.com.

"These coffee shops are integral parts of people's communities," O'Neil said.

Steve Brook, a musician who was involved in the shop's second Assembly Line concert, said there will be a "void" in the community with the cafe's closing.

"It's a loss for the community as well as some of the people who have come to call this place home," Brook said. "It's become almost like a public institution."

Gail Frost, of Ferndale, said she hates to see the shop close but understands the difficulties of keeping a business running.

"It's bittersweet," Frost said.

Frank Morris, who performed at AJ's on Saturday during its farewell event, said he has been playing at the cafe since 2009.

"It's sad," Morris said, adding that it's the "brotherhood" and welcoming atmosphere of the shop fostered by owner O'Neil that be missed most. "He treated you like a family member."

Emily April 02, 2012 at 10:47 PM
I worked for AJ and am not in the least bit sorry to see him go. If people only knew what went on behind the scenes they would be too!
Ferndale Resident April 02, 2012 at 10:57 PM
Care to elaborate, Emily? I've heard some stories myself.
rolfsy April 03, 2012 at 11:03 AM
Aren't you supposed to use a different name for the sock puppet? Kinda helps the illusion I guess.
Ferndale Resident April 03, 2012 at 12:17 PM
Some woman named Emily posted the comments I responded to. I'm not sure why, but it's displaying my name for all those messages. Check each profile to see for yourself.
Local Supporter April 03, 2012 at 02:46 PM
I am VERY excited to see what new business moves in!! Such a great storefront, we have been in need of something fresh to live up to it's potential!! Best of luck! I hope it's not a chain establishment.
Jessica Schrader April 03, 2012 at 04:33 PM
We will look into what the issue might be. Thanks!
Emily April 03, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Sorry, I didn't want my name up there...changed it to ferndale resident as well
Margaret Rayburn April 03, 2012 at 05:44 PM
What kind of a thread is this? Where are "Emily's" comments? When messages are deleted and only one side remains, it's a bit confusing & misleading. This looks very unprofessional. Also, Ms. Schrader, I have had a few comments deleted that left me puzzled. Why would you delete my post of a house being on fire across the street from me? The Fire Dept. had not even arrived yet! This forum, The Patch, is also used by us Ferndale residents as a "Neighborhood Watch", if you will. Please clarify these allegations against AJ's. I am a neutral party & did not frequent the place, but this thread does not look fair to me. Thank you.
Jessica Schrader April 03, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Hi Margaret! Sorry about the confusion - was just coming back to post that a comment had to be deleted because it violated our Terms of Use. And there was some confusion with two people having the same displayed user name. But I'm definitely interested in hearing about comments of yours that were deleted - I don't recall ever seeing that comment about a fire, and wouldn't have deleted it - it's definitely something we want to know about and we love that our readers use this site as a place of discussion. That's what we're here for! Was that something you posted here on the site, or on our Facebook? Please email me at jessica.schrader@patch.com if that ever happens again!
Margaret Rayburn April 03, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Hi Jessica, Thank you for your reply. The fire was about 3 weeks ago. I posted directly to the Patch website- twice! The comments were deleted not long after I posted them- within an hour or so. Being a Saturday night, many of my neighbors were not home for the evening. I wanted to give them a heads up that #1 Maybe the owner would read it. #2 My other neighbors would be alerted that our street was cordoned off all the way to Woodward. I understand mistakes happen. Re: this current thread. Since my earlier post, you have deleted yet another comment. Why not just delete the allegations until you figure out what the deal is with the user name screwup, etc.? The thread has too many holes in it & really no substance. Just my 2 cents.
Ferndale Resident April 03, 2012 at 07:02 PM
I don't like the idea of someone having the exact same name as me. I agree, what's with all the bugs going on? It seems like since Patch changed their format (which I'm not a fan of, admittedly), there have been some odd bugs with the system.
Jessica Schrader April 03, 2012 at 08:59 PM
Ferndale Resident - Sorry for the confusion. Unfortunately the only way to really prevent that is to use your real name (which we encourage). And if you are having trouble with other areas of the site please send me an email! Margaret - I'm not sure where you posted the comment initially but please send me an email so we can discuss further. We definitely don't want that to happen again! Thanks for your patience.
Margaret Rayburn April 03, 2012 at 10:27 PM
Thanks, Jessica. I will contact you when I have time. There really isn't much to discuss, considering the event has come & gone. I will just reiterate that more thought should go into it before hitting the "delete" button so quickly.
Emily April 04, 2012 at 01:59 AM
ok ok I changed it back to my name...just not my full name. I apologize, I'm new to the patch and figured since I'm a ferndale resident it would be ok, thought maybe other people used "ferndale resident" as well. As far as the comment I had posted yesterday, apparently it needed to be taken down (I guess I didn't read the rules and regulations". In my opinion, AJ was not a good man to work for, his business ethics were entirely unethical, from the way he took care of his food items to how he treated other patrons. He didn't seem to take interest with cleaning the place and I know from experience that the Health Department wasn't very fond of the place either (to put it lightly). Just glad he's gone. Hopefully a more reputable business will fill the space!
patti April 04, 2012 at 06:23 PM
wow, like havin lunch with the girls...tks
Emily April 05, 2012 at 03:22 AM
what is tks?

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