Crazy Mocha has two dozen stores across Southwestern Pennsylvania, but the vast majority of them have been closed since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Owner Ed Wethli purchased the chain in 2018. At the start of the pandemic in April, Wethli told WTAE that Crazy Mocha anticipated opening at least eight neighborhood locations by mid-May. Back in April, Wethli wanted to raise $10,000 through sales of the company’s The Emergency Blend coffee beans to donate to The Pittsburgh Foundation.
Those goals never really materialized. The pandemic has been hard on the local restaurant industry, but the bankruptcy filing shows that the company was having struggles before the pandemic hit.
Perplexingly, even after coffee shops were allowed to reopen in Allegheny County, most of the Crazy Mocha stores never did, cutting off any potentially valuable revenue. In July, several longtime employees told Pittsburgh City Paper how ownership had all but cut off communication with furloughed workers who were wondering why typically high traffic stores like the Bloomfield location were not reopened.
Filings show that Crazy Mocha owes more than $200,000 in back rent across several store locations.