A nonprofit coffee shop launched as a ministry of a local church is permanently closing after six years in business in downtown Tuscaloosa.

UPerk was one of the first cafes to open in the area as development exploded downtown in the last decade - the shop opened on 20th Avenue near Loosa Brews in August 2017.

While the others in the area were launched by crowdfunded entrepreneurs and chains expanding into the area, UPerk was unique because it was launched as a nonprofit ministry of the First Presbyterian Church of Tuscaloosa. 

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After the church discovered that students came out in droves to get free coffee during exam week, they invested in the idea of launching a community coffee house downtown.

There, they served premium coffees, teas and baked goods in a shop that was still often a gathering place for members of the church's college ministry, but it also became a community hub for other groups - students, young professionals, athletes, patrons of Loosa Brews - all were welcome at UPerk.

Now, after over six years, the coffee shop will permanently close Thursday.

"UPerk is sad to announce our closing," managers posted on social media. "Our last day of business will be Thursday, December 14th. We would like to thank everyone for all your support over the years."

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