JONESBORO — The Edge Coffeehouse & Eatery is closed for business after the owner of the establishment was arrested Monday on charges that he embezzled nearly $1.6 million from taxpayers.
Kade Holliday, the former county clerk, also owns the restaurant, to which he has funneled money into throughout the downturn in the economy.
He has paid for numerous repairs and renovations that took place while the business was closed and provided a paycheck to those involved.
County Judge Marvin Day said that he met with The Edge manager, who works contractually with the business, on Wednesday morning “to try to open a dialogue about what they need.”
Day said he wanted it to be clear that he wanted The Edge to continue business and for the county to get back the money that appears to have been stolen from taxpayers.
The Edge employed at least 20 people.
“We don’t know what the perfect outcome would be for any involved,” Day said.
He said it could be possible to pursue a partnership with the county. But he is unsure whether that is legally possible.
“Our initial intent is in no way to stop that business,” Day said. “That’s not going to get the taxpayers’ money back.”
Nor does Day think it would be profitable to auction off The Edge.
“We here in Craighead County love business,” Day said about local businesses and the opportunities they bring.
The Edge’s managers include Brian and Sarah Nobles, according to the business’ liquor license, which took months to obtain.
The Edge is in an old home beside the Arkansas State University campus. It’s the only coffee shop of its kind in the city, and rivals Onyx in Fayetteville and Community Bakery in Little Rock.
Because of the county’s civil suit against Holliday, all his assets are frozen, including payroll for The Edge, meaning that everyone employed by the business is at risk of losing their jobs.
Day said it is not his intention to run the place out of business. He wants to work with Holliday’s partners in the operation to ensure that the coffeehouse stays open.
He also said that he was unaware if Holliday’s arrest would impact the company’s liquor license, but also said that the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control department is aware of Holliday’s arrest.
As of Wednesday afternoon, neither The Edge managers nor Holliday had responded to The Sun’s requests for comment.
For legal reasons, Day was also limited on what he was able to share, but said that he wants to pursue all options that keep Edge employees paid and keep the local business in town.
Jonesboro City Councilwoman Ann Williams previously owned the coffee shop.
Holliday began pursuing the liquor license and hired Brian Nobles in August of 2019.