With more than 50 café locations across Canada, it’s safe to say that Calgary-based Good Earth Coffeehouse is one of the city’s biggest coffee success stories.
Every story has a beginning, and, for Good Earth Coffeehouse, you can see where it all started at the original location along 11th Street S.W. in the Beltline neighbourhood, which still welcomes newcomers and regulars, alike, more than three decades later.
While dozens more locations have opened since that first one, the company’s goal of fostering community gathering spaces has remained constant.
“When we opened in 1991, we were joining a really wonderful café culture in Calgary; it included Caffè Beano, The Roasterie, Heartland [Café] over in Sunnyside,” says Good Earth Coffeehouse co-founder Nan Eskenazi. “These were really genuine places where people in those communities liked to gather. Our attitude about growing across Canada has been trying to bring that same core value or idea to multiple places all across the country.”
Now, Good Earth Coffeehouse is expanding into new territory. In March 2022, the company announced it would be opening cafés in select Indigo bookstores (replacing now-closed Starbucks locations) through a new partnership with the national book retailer. By November 2022, Good Earth’s first Indigo location was open in a fully renovated space in CF Chinook Centre’s Chapters store. With its plentiful seating, tempting baked goods and the smell of coffee wafting in the air, the café is a welcome addition for shoppers and readers looking to relax with a good book or gather over a hot drink. “I was so pleased to be able to sit and have a cup of coffee and look out at that sea of books,” says Eskenazi. “It felt like home.”
In a way, it’s a full-circle moment for Good Earth, which originally had a small bookstore in its first Beltline café. “We’ve had such a lovely welcome,” says Eskenazi. “Partly, it’s just that people were really anxious to get back into a community space and meet their friends and enjoy time in the bookstore and the coffee house, and part of it is people have a lot of pride in their Calgary roots and Calgary businesses and have shared that with us. It’s very humbling and satisfying to hear that people share our excitement and our pride in the partnership.”
Good Earth now has locations in three Indigo/Chapters stores in Calgary, as well as a few in other cities, and plans to have 12 to 18 in total across Canada by mid-2024. With its purposeful growth and continued support from the community, the company’s story continues.