Alumnus-owned cafe relocates

Blacksburg, Va., Feb 26 – SETTING UP SHOP: Foamo showed off its new location downtown at a grand opening on February 18. Photo: Sarah Carr

by Sarah Carr —

A cafe that once set up shop on Main Street, has now moved to a new location deeper into downtown Blacksburg. 

Foamo Cafe owner and recent Virginia Tech graduate, Youssef Rhanime, says that there were multiple reasons for the sudden relocation. 

“Families would be coming in with their kids and there was nowhere to sit. We were losing a lot of business because we couldn’t accommodate multiple people, so that was the initial reason I was looking for another spot,” said Rhanime. 

He came across a location downtown that was perfect for a new raw juice and smoothie business concept he had in the works. That’s when it all clicked for Rhanime. 

“I realized that the concept was so similar to what Foamo already does, so I might as well just move Foamo to the better location and kill two birds with one stone in terms of being able to add those things that I want to add.”

According to Restaurant Hospitality, two of the main reasons those in the food industry move their business is due to the desire for more space, or due to a rent increase that was out of the restaurant’s control. 

In Foamo’s case, an increase in space and a more central location to downtown will add what Rhanime hopes is more foot traffic coming in and out of the cafe. 

With the new location being closer to the Virginia Tech campus as well, students have better access to the cafe than before – a change that Virginia Tech student, Aditi Shukla, says is a great thing. 

“The previous location was kind of far from campus. If it moved right across from the Milk Parlor, the old salsa night place, then I think it will be easier for students to access, even during school hours,” said Shukla. 

Over 50% of the working population is employed by a small business according to Yahoo, highlighting the importance of businesses like Foamo and the impact it has on the community of Blacksburg. 

While the location is entirely new, the menu, decor and overall feel of the cafe has remained the same during the transition from Main Street to downtown, with the addition of smoothie and toast options coming in the following weeks. 

Overall Rhanime describes the transition to downtown as bittersweet, the relocation process having both its pros and cons. 

“It was kind of a sudden decision, we moved literally in about a two week time span. A lot of people thought it was a situation where we just left or we just closed up shop. The hardest thing is going to be trying to get everybody back through the doors.”


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