Flashback Friday: Just Us! is out of the Halifax café business, but still makes a great cup of java
Posted on June 04, 2021 | By Alexandrea Guye | 0 Comments
There are over 20 different coffee shops and cafes in downtown Halifax. At the corner of Prince and Barrington, there was one coffee shop that went through many changes in the last 10 years.
Just Us! Coffeehouse was the first Halifax-based cafe for Just Us! Coffee Roaster Cooperative Ltd. Just Us! is a cooperative started in 1995 that roasts their fair trade coffee to order at its main location in Grand Pre. The co-op’s website says they partner with “small scale farmer co-ops” in the global south to produce their coffee beans.
The Barrington Street location was open for almost 10 years before it finally announced its closure in 2013.That year, co-founder Debra Moore said that this closure was due to moving locations. They later expanded to two other locations in the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) but those locations were sold in 2017.
Glitter Bean Café, which started in 2018, still provides and sells Just Us! coffee.
Back in 2009, as university students returned to Halifax, various businesses were preparing for the incoming rush. One of those businesses was Just Us! Coffee Roaster at 5896 Spring Garden Road, one of the last cafes in the city to have the Just Us! name.
At the time, the manager of the location, Ned Zimmerman, said there had already been an influx of students as the summer began winding down. An article reported this was due to the closure of the “Tim Horton’s down the block”.
Just Us! Café workers unionized in 2013, making its Spring Garden Road location one of the first cafes in the province to unionize.
However, the shop was later sold to the former Smiling Goat Organic Espresso Bar, owned by Kit Singh in September 2017. They continued making and selling Just Us! coffee after the new cafe opened. But when it came to light that Smiling Goat workers were not being paid, were quitting or were forced to quit, Just Us! made a public statement. In a tweet from 2018, the co-op said they were saddened “workers at another business selling our coffee are allegedly not being treated well by their employer.” The company later released a more detailed statement further condemning Smiling Goat’s treatment of employees.
This longstanding location changed hands again in 2018 when it became the home of Glitter Bean Cafe, a staff-owned, unionized cooperative that still sells and makes Just Us! coffee.
This cafe is made up of individuals who were tired of working in their unfair work environment and wanted to create a more accepting space.
Although places like Glitter Bean still provide customers with Just Us! coffee, today there are no Just Us! named cafes in HRM. They do, however, have a cafe in Wolfville, and a spot at the Wolfville Farmers Market. •
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