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Drew McIntosh

Posted on May 13 2019


Here's a quick note about our Fuelin' Boyle Street program. Since September 2018, we've been meeting the needs for fresh roasted coffee at the Boyle Street Community Centre. We have had an amazing experience partnering with our friends and neighbours to get the program through the winter months.

Our coffee roaster and caffe opened October of 2018, on the edge of Edmonton's downtown core in the Central MacDougall neighbourhood. We designed the business with the idea that we would strive to meet the needs of all of the people in the community. This is actually a big challenge, because there are so many different lived experiences in our neighbourhood.

We began by partnering with the Boyle Street Community Services agency to provide coffee for the drop-in centre. With our first winter approaching we organized our resources to ensure that everyone downtown has access to the work we do and the coffee we source, roast and serve for Downtown Edmonton. We have provided 100% of the coffee served at the Boyle Street since we opened, with the great support of an excellent community of friends and neighbours. After we began, the usage immediately doubled, which is actually pretty great because it means that folks are enjoying taking a break and visiting with their friends and family over coffee, which is what we are all about. Beyond that, the centre is able to reallocate the previously budgeted coffee expense, which means they serve more meals. We had the coldest winter in 40 years while the drop in was experiencing record usage levels. We partnered with over 45 individual Edmontonians and groups to keep the coffee flowing with the daily sponsorships. 

Our donation plan was a way to cover the immediate needs in front of us. As a brand new business operating during our own slow time, we needed to partner with our customers to get it done, and we are really grateful for the support. Because we roast coffee downtown, the people who live downtown have access to high quality, fresh roasted coffee. That's pretty great.

We have met the need for coffee at the Boyle Street for 36 weeks without faltering. Our partners have stepped up with cash donations to cover 6 weeks at our wholesale rates, and we had 2 weeks of green beans covered by our friends at Coffea Reciproca. Thanks also to the folks at Daze Magazine and the Edmonton Muse for supporting our project. It's important to see where the "local" eco-system really is and independent media has been there for us to keep the lights on at our shop and the coffee program on down the street.

We are now closing the donation program so that we can evolve our social enterprise into a model which doesn't rely on donation based giving. We're still doing the work, that hasn't changed. Now that it's not -40, the need to provide the service isn't life or death, so we feel like the best place for you to give your money is directly to the Boyle Street and we can facilitate any donations you want to make to go directly to them. We can even introduce you to their team for a walk through and tour of the organization's programs.

We sell coffee. We're looking to add volume to our other sales channels in order to meet this need. If you're interested in helping us accomplish our goal, we have targets we're looking to add which will enable us to cover this project without asking for support. It's important to us to keep the neighbourhood in coffee, so if you buy coffee downtown Edmonton for yourself or your office, get in touch at coffee(a) to see how we can offer you a custom coffee solution, which is good for everyone. We're rolling out sustainable deliveries with coffee roasted in the neighbourhood, delivered by bike, with no packaging waste. You get the coffee you deserve. We get to keep investing in the good work being done around us, while offering independent community space fueled by Do It Yourself culture, ethos and methodology. Pop by the No Wave Espresso Bar at 10557 - 109st to see what we are contributing to downtown coffee culture.

Thank you for the support. We appreciate it. As long as we're roasting coffee downtown, we will be working creatively to meet the needs at the Boyle Street.

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