Meadowlark Coffee & Espresso and Cottonwood Café closed Thursday because of unpaid sales taxes.

Nathan Simpson, who co-owns both businesses, said they fell behind on paying sales taxes and were forced by the state to close. He would not say why the businesses were not paying the taxes.

State Tax Commissioner Tony Fulton declined to comment.

Cottonwood Café co-owner Mark Ford said the business at 440 S. 11th St. reopened Friday afternoon about 2 after he paid the taxes. He said he is in the process of buying Simpson out of Cottonwood and plans to put the business up for sale but will keep it open until a buyer is found.

Ford does not have an interest in Meadowlark.

The fate of the coffee shop at 1624 South St. is unknown.

Friday morning, Simpson predicted Cottonwood Café would reopen quickly. When asked about prospects for Meadowlark reopening, he said he was "less hopeful."

Later Friday, he said he was still working to reopen the shop that opened in 2005 and is well known for hosting live entertainment, including music and poetry readings.

Cottonwood Café opened in October 2015 in the building that was formerly home to Duggan's Pub.

Simpson told the Journal Star then that he was looking to create a "social hub" in that part of downtown.

Cottonwood also hosts live entertainment, including bands and open-mic comedy nights, as well as a weekly quiz competition.

The city treasurer said the two businesses also had been behind in payment of the arena occupation tax, which is collected by the city.

The state collects the sales tax before sending the local share back to the city.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.

Journal Star reporter Nancy Hicks contributed to this story.


Business editor/reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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