Barren Ground Coffee is relocating to downtown Yellowknife in September – with plans to open a café in the same location soon after.
Co-founder Eric Binion confirmed on Friday afternoon the business will move from Old Town to the building at 5103 52 Street, previously occupied by HomeLife Sunrise Real Estate.
Binion said Barren Ground’s last shop day at its Old Town location will be September 15. The company will need about a week to move its roaster and install venting in the new space, he said.
During the transition, Barren Ground coffee will still be available at retail locations across the territory.
“We’re hoping to do some expansion with the operation side of things, so [this location] will give us the space for that,” Binion told Cabin Radio. The building already has bar seating, he said, but he’s thinking of adding a few tables and getting an espresso machine.
“Ideally, it would be nice to have something starting up in October [for the public],” he said, cautioning the café’s opening will depend on everything falling into place as expected.
Barren Ground won’t operate a kitchen, but the company is hoping to sell baked goods.
Binion said he has spoken with Fat Fox Café catering owners Emma Atkinson and Jeremy Flatt, who are said to be keen to make doughnuts for Barren Ground if time allows.
Making the move
As much as the coffee roasters loved being in Old Town, where foot traffic and tourism helped draw people in, Binion said the company had outgrown its current location – which had neither a bathroom nor running water.
That caused problems during coffee brewing and cupping courses, he added, where participants drank a lot of coffee. It also meant Barren Ground couldn’t buy an espresso machine.
Additionally, the all-important roaster would not run if the temperature in the shop dipped below 5C, which happened a handful of times.
“Its going to be less stress … and make our lives a bit easier,” he said. “I would have loved to have found something in Old Town but it’s so tough down there … and we were just really hoping we could find something before winter came again.”
Binion said realtor Shane Clark, who owns the new premises, was “super keen and interested in helping us out and supporting us.
“I feel super lucky that we were able to get in there.”