b sides closing

Kevin and Karen O’Malley opened B-Sides Coffee and Tea, 9907 S. Walden Pkwy., in October 2017. At the time, they lived in Beverly, but they now reside in Indianapolis. “We used to live five blocks away,” Kevin O’Malley said. “Now, we live 160 miles away.” They will close their business at the end of January. (Review file photo)

B-Sides Coffee and Tea, 9907 S. Walden Pkwy., will close at the end of January, about two years after opening.

The owners, Karen and Kevin O’Malley, are married and recently moved out of state, and they announced the decision on social media on Jan. 14, saying their lives had changed drastically since opening, including with family matters.

Kevin O’Malley said the decision is bittersweet but for the best.

“We never wanted to leave Beverly,” O’Malley said. “We love everything about the neighborhood from a community aspect. It truly is like ‘The village in the city.’”

The O’Malleys lived in Beverly when they opened in October 2017, but they moved to Indianapolis in the spring of 2019, as Kevin O’Malley accepted a job there and it is Karen O’Malley’s hometown where many of her relatives reside.

They kept the shop open, but it was another significant life moment that affected managing their small business.

After signing the lease for the property in February 2017, the couple became pregnant with their second child in May. Their older child was then diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in July 2017, just as the family was renovating the property and preparing to open.

Karen O’Malley left her job to care for their older child, and she then oversaw the day-to-day operations at B-Sides. Kevin O’Malley also helped at the shop but maintained his main career.

The O’Malleys named their shop after the lesser-known side of a music album and because the cafe is located “beside” the Metra Rock Island commuter railroad line. Customers could exit through a back door to access the train stop, and records adorned the walls of the interior.

B-Sides collaborated with several other small businesses for promotions, including neighboring shops near 99th Street and Walden Parkway.

Kevin O’Malley praised his staff and said they helped make B-Sides a reality after he and wife were frequent commuters at the 99th Street Metra stop and thought a coffee shop would be viable in that area. He said they are grateful for the positive feedback they received on social media and via email.

“[Our idea] did come to life, and it’s a bummer that it is coming to an end,” Kevin said. “But now that we’re moved and settled [in Indianapolis], it wasn’t fair to try to run a business from afar. We used to live five blocks away. Now, we live 160 miles away.”

Kevin O’Malley’s family has Beverly roots, as his mother attended St. Barnabas Elementary School and his parents were married at St. Barnabas Roman Catholic Church.

He said a locally owned and operated business like B-Sides needed attention and visibility “way more than what we could provide.”

He hopes a similar business can take over the site, but B-Sides’ run is coming to an end.

“We put a lot into this place,” O’Malley said. “You’ve got to make tough calls. We feel it’s best to just close it.”