Club Deux Gros Nez update

June 16 will be a day of celebration for patrons of Deux Gros Nez.

This day will mark the coffeehouse’s 16th year in business, as well as mark the annual Tour de Nez bicycle race. Revelers will raise their cappuccinos in jubilation and toast their favorite cafe to another successful year in business—unless a drive to turn the quirky coffeehouse into a co-op fails to attract enough membership pledges.

As the deadline looms for patrons to join Club Deux Gros Nez, which would eventually buy out the cafe from owner Tim Healion, some organizers are concerned about getting enough pledges by June 16.

Michael Millerick, a self-described Deux Gros Nez “irregular,” sent out a letter to those who have indicated an interest in becoming members but haven’t yet made a financial pledge.

The letter, in a tone somewhat reminiscent of a Feed the Children commercial, reminds these patrons about the importance of their contribution.

“For as little as what you would pay for a sports club membership or spend on beverages each month you will be preserving not just a cultural icon in our city but a place to be, which is … well … Deux Gros Nez,” he writes.

Millerick, who has pledged $100 a month to keep the Deux in operation, says that the membership drive is under its goal but says members will be out in full force on June 16, during the Tour de Nez race and block party, which is held at the cafe.

“We plan to attack these people and make them feel guilty if they don’t pledge,” he says with a laugh.

He says that the club needs people pledging $25 to $200 per month. The money would go to purchase the equity of Deux Gros Nez. The co-op will pay $4,000 a month ($48,000 per year) for two years to keep the coffeehouse open and pay for a new general manager.

Millerick, a regular customer of the cafe for 16 years, says the coffee joint has the same ambiance of those he frequented while attending school in Berkeley, Calif., and he hopes it will stay that way.

“I think some people walk in and out of Deux Gros Nez and don’t understand its significance and take it for granted, and that’s wrong,” he says.

Despite the worries, he seems optimistic that the cafe will stay open.

“I think reason will prevail,” Millerick says.

Healion has been trying to sell the business since last year. He says he wants to pursue other interests and spend more time with his family. Although he said he would close the cafe after June 16 if the drive is unsuccessful, he appears confident that Club Deux Gros Nez will achieve its membership goal.

“It’s definitely happening,” Healion says, adding that people from out of town have expressed interest in pledging. He says that Deux Gros Nez is quite famous outside of Reno. “I think Deux Gros Nez is [Reno’s] most popular, non-casino establishment for people from out of town,” Healion says.

The Tour de Nez often attracts bicyclists from around the country. California Cyclist magazine called it the “coolest race in America.” Healion expects this year’s event will be a memorable one.

"It [will be] a big day in Deux Gros Nez history, in Reno history, in Nevada history," he declares. "It will be a fun party."