Partners Chris Francis and Sean Bruinooge are set to move into 178 Water St., an operation that will not only combine their food and coffee operation, but include their roasting efforts.
The second location, in the old visitor information centre next to Founders’ Hall, will also include John Dale, who is moving his Breadworks bakery from its current location on Great George Street and teaming up with Francis and Bruinooge.
Got all that?
Francis and Bruinooge say the second location on Water Street will open June 26.
“It always feels soon,’’ Francis says when asked about expanding the operation four years into opening. “For me personally, it was scary, it was a big move.’’
The partners want to grow the roasting side of the business, which currently operates out of a tiny location on Belmont Street. It made the expansion a realistic endeavour.
“For the roaster, we ran out of space and we need a bigger roaster. To grow the roasting side of the business, which is what we’re really interested in, we need more space.’’
Receiver Coffee’s location on Victoria Row will continue to operate as more of a sit-down and have your meal type of operation while the Water Street location will lean towards grab and go, with things like coffee, sandwiches, cold salads, fresh baked goods (from Breadworks) and pastries.
“We’re pretty privileged to work with (John).’’
The big roaster won’t be going into the Water Street location until the fall because it’s on back order from the manufacturer.
Francis and Bruinooge, now in their late 20s, have been close friends since elementary school but neither planned to go into business together.
“It was never the plan,’’ Francis said.
“Not even close,’’ added Bruinooge.
Francis planned to be a psychologist while Bruinooge was going to be a wildlife conservation officer.
“We both just kind of stumbled into this,’’ Francis said. “We both loved cooking; we both loved coffee.’’
The pair eventually worked and managed Kettle Black. Soon, the seed was planted.
“We just sort of made the call. Is this what we want to do? Are you having fun?’’ Bruinooge remembers from a conversation he had with Francis. “Yeah, I’m having fun. OK, let’s just keep doing this.’’
Since then, the operation (soon to be operations) has become a real passion for the partners.
Francis almost gets emotional in describing what the business means to them.
“It’s a really unique experience to have somebody come in and change the course of their day, every single day, to make a decision to come in and have a cup of coffee that day.
“We always tell our staff . . . because (customers) choose to come here you really have to show them appreciation. You really have to take care of them; learn people’s names; learn what their drink is; become friends with people. That’s what a community coffee shop is. It’s a hub. We wanted it to be like (the TV show) Cheers where everyone knows your name.’’
The partners take much pride in the coffee and food they produce and Francis says everything is made from scratch.
“Good espresso drinks don’t happen by accident, you have to know what you’re doing,’’ Francis says.
Bruinooge adds when they opened four years ago he handled the food end of the business while Francis took care of the coffee.
“The concept behind the menu (was) we wanted to have whole food that was healthy; nothing pre-frozen. We wanted to make recipes from scratch (like) making salsa instead of opening a can of salsa,’’ Bruinooge says.
They also try to use as many local products as possible, creating a homey-style atmosphere, menu-style, with eggs and potatoes.
“Eating real food is the most important thing you can do for your body. We wanted to stick to that idea, always make it feel real,’’ Francis says.
On the restaurant side, the pair want to keep working with local producers.
On the coffee side, they want to roast more and get their product out there. Receiver Coffee’s brand is currently available on store shelves in Halifax, in Murphy’s Pharmacy locations and will be sold at the new Kent Street Market in Charlottetown.