Wednesday 26 September 2012

Another independant coffee shop gone

The Gourmet Cup coffee shop in Portage Place mall is closing down this Friday. The coffee shop, located near the Edmonton Street entrance, used to have that corner of the mall to itself. Now, with Timmies to the left of it and Starbucks to the right, The Gourmet Cup is stuck in the middle of a corporate coffee juggernaut.

Although the competition certainly can't be helpful, the owner does not blame the competitors. His lease is coming up, and if he were to renew the lease he would be required to invest in capital improvements to the store, and it would simply take too long to make that money back. The customer base in the area is dwindling, and the mall isn't getting any busier. He is aware that IBM, which is attached to the mall via skywalk, is moving away, and apparently Manitoba Health workers are leaving the area as well. Regardless of what investments he makes in his store, "that doesn't change Portage Place" and it's grim future.

The owner is a friendly guy who jokes with the customers and adds a personal touch to the coffee buying experience. He thanked me for my support over the years, although I feel partly to blame. I used to go to his shop regularly prior to getting booted from my previous job, and though I am still a short walk away I find myself going to Starbucks far more often because that is where my new colleagues go. I guess that's my confession for the day. I kill small businesses.

The owner, being the nice guy that he is, doesn't blame me either. He just seems tired of grinding out a living in a declining market in a mall that has seen better days. He plans on taking a break for a while, but expects to start something up again somewhere else. "I have too much debt to retire", he joked.

Friday, September 28 will be his last day open. I encourage you readers to go down there and buy a coffee and a muffin or a bag of beans, and make his last day a good one.


spiritedmom said...

Interesting story. Next one...maybe go and interview Ron and Lisa who own the Java Jungle in the skywalk at 266 Graham (former CPC, now the new Wpg Police Bldg) . They have survived there in less than ideal recent conditions...might be a good news story in there somewhere?

reedsolomon.matr1x at said...

It's hard to believe there was a time when there was no Timmy's or Starbucks in that mall.

Anonymous said...

Coffee is now a huge scam. Sold in grocery stores cheaper retail brand name coffee - Maxwell House, Nabob, Edwards, etc, cost a fraction of of Tim Hortons, Srabucks, etc.

Yet brewed retail coffee prices are reasonably close, and bear no real relationship to he actual preparation cost in restaurants and coffe shops.

Both Timmies and Starbucks are engaged in predatory business practices to gain control of retail coffee market.

Coffee Service Portland said...

Love, love your blog! More power to you!

/* Google Tracker Code