The Save Little Nest Facebook page has only existed for four days, but by Tuesday morning it had more than 1,750 likes.
"[Little Nest has] obviously filled a major need in our community," said Yolanda Liman, who started the page Friday morning after reading a Courier article reporting the impending closure of the family-friendly eatery because of a $2,000 a month rent increase.
Since Little Nest opened in 2007, Liman has attended a mother's group at the caf at 1716 Charles St. and joined another group for women who work in creative jobs that hatched there. Little Nest's "amazing" food, coffee and family-focused atmosphere has made her a repeat customer.
Liman is spearheading a "Little Nest Love-In" near the caf on Car-Free Day, June 16.
"It's been quite overwhelming," Macintyre said of the response to the news she plans to close Little Nest.
Customers have called for the business to move to Hastings-Sunrise and Main Street and suggested crowd-funding campaigns.
"I'm really flattered, although I'm worried about the problems that might ensue with [crowd funding]," Macintyre said. "I'm also just not sure about taking on more debt or whether I even still have the energy to start all over again_ I am considering all the different offers and suggestions people are making but I am also being quite cautious at the moment, too."
Macintyre and her staff are preparing for Little Nest's closure, July 21. "We're looking at very busy days," she said. "People are really trying to catch up with us before we go."
Macintyre posted an open letter on the Facebook page thanking "Little Nesters" for their support. "I didn't start Little Nest with a lot of business knowledge_ Perhaps I would have made more of a profit if I knew then what I know now," she wrote. "I have measured my success not entirely on monetary profit. But this means I am not in a position financially to pick up and move. It will cost me money I just don't have."
Macintyre wrote she was offered a three-year lease in December with no guarantee of re-signing. She says the lease included a 50 per cent increase in February, a 10 per cent increase next year and another 10 per cent the following year.
Macintyre told the Courier last week that she paid $2,900 a month when she opened in 2007 and now pays $6,500 a month, or $45 a square foot.
The Commercial Drive Business Society tells potential renters on the Drive to expect to pay from $20 to $45 a square foot, not including a charge for property tax, garbage, insurance and electricity, said society president Carmen D'Onofrio last week.
Both Macintyre and Sacha Thompson, owner of The Flowerbox in the same building on Charles, say commercial lease increases should be regulated. "I am sad to see so many vacant spaces and chain stores on the Drive. It is changing this once diverse and vibrant neighbourhood to something generic and staid," Macintyre wrote. "_City hall could regulate commercial leases and show more support for small business."
Calls to the building manager and landlord were not returned by the Courier's press deadline.