Cool Beans: Aubade Coffee Serves Up Craft Coffee in Vancouver’s Chinatown

Tucked away in Vancouver’s Chinatown is a single business where visitors can sip artisan coffee, browse eclectic antiques and get a haircut. The Long Walk Lodge on Pender Street is three businesses in one and Aubade Coffee can be found in the front of the space, serving up coffee from a counter made from a reclaimed shipping pallet.

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Owner Eldric Kuzma was inspired to open a coffee shop during a soul-searching trip abroad. He was planning to spend five years traveling, but he stopped short when he discovered the artisan coffee scene in Australia.

“I’d left Canada to explore the world and discover myself, essentially to figure out what I wanted to do ‘when I grew up’,” recalls Eldric. “I’d managed coffee shops and figured I could rely on that when travelling. I very serendipitously ended up in Melbourne and discovered the concept of taking coffee to the level of a craft.” He began making plans to open his own place.

When Eldric returned to Vancouver, a friend of a friend helped him secure a space at The Long Walk Lodge. “I had a lot of passion but a small budget, so the shared space worked perfectly,” Eldric says. “The idea of a [combined] vintage store, barbershop and coffee shop is a novelty that is very new to the city and I feel it’s the way of the future.”

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In the lead up to opening his shop, Eldric took part in collaborative pop-ups with his friends, many of whom were using Square for their businesses. After seeing Square in shops and using it himself, Eldric decided to use his Samsung tablet as a point-of-sale (POS) system in his new store.

“After banging my head against the wall with other expensive POS systems, I loved that Square was so streamlined,” says Eldric. The idea of a free POS was also very appealing to this small business owner who isn’t backed by investors.

Eldric uses Square to process all his transactions, both cash and credit, and to keep track of his sales. “Eventually I’ll use third-party apps for accounting and taxes,” he adds. “I love the minimal, no-fuss design, and the fact that with third-party apps you can make it as useful as you need to.”

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Eldric is planning to add espresso drinks to the menu and increase seating in the short term. In the future, he plans to use Square to help him open additional locations and educate people about the process behind the beans. For now, he’s focusing on building his brand and coping with the long hours required to open a business. But it hasn’t caused him any sleepless nights so far. “I sleep like a baby,” he laughs, “even after all the coffee I drink.”