Late last week it was announced that National Access Cannabis has penned a deal with nationwide coffee chain Second Cup to take over some of their high-profile cafes and convert them into cannabis retail outlets.
News of the deal excited investors, raising the price of a share of Second Cup on the TSE from around $2.70 to peak at around $3.85. But while many investors are riding high on these gains, Canadian coffee drinkers themselves are divided on whether this news is a step forward, or a step backward, for the Canadian coffee scene.
Trevor Highbottom is a spokesperson for the Canadian Coffee Council (CCC), an association of coffee professionals and enthusiasts dedicated to cultivating a healthy “coffee culture” that is distinctly Canadian. He says that how this deal will affect people will depend largely on where they live.
“This deal would have had the biggest impact in Ontario’s urban centres if it wasn’t for the whole OCS boondoggle. Anyone who’s ever looked for a decent cup of coffee in Toronto will tell you it’s just impossible to find one. Everywhere you look, it’s a choice between the burnt water taste of Second Cup, or the hot brown tap water taste of Tim Hortons, so shutting down or converting any number of either of these establishments into pot shops would be a massive boon to the Ontario coffee scene.
“You have a similar situation in other urban centres east of the Rockies. The coffee situation is just terrible, mostly because of the proliferation of shit-peddling massive chains like Second Cup. So overall, every outlet of Second Cup that converts to a pot shop will benefit the Canadian coffee scene, making room for smaller “craft coffee” establishments with decent beans—mom and pop style operations.
“And of course none of this will be an issue in BC. The craft coffee scene has been thriving there for decades now. It’s so well established that Second Cup barely even made moves in the province back when their stores were turning a profit elsewhere. Just look at the capital city of Victoria, which has one artisanal coffee roasterie for every 500 citizens, and not a single Second Cup location. It’s a coffee wonderland!”
Opposed to the optimism of the CCC is Adrienne Coulier of the Telecommuters’ Union of Canada (TUK), an organization that represents the interests of Canadians who pay the bills by pretending to work from home.
“The loss of so many Second Cup locations will be a huge blow to people like me,” says Coulier. “Second Cup is basically telling thousands of Canadians that they need to find new office space with this deal.
“The thing that makes Second Cup so ideal for professionals like me is that, because the coffee stinks and the decor is so ill thought out, these coffee shops are the ideal workspace. Hardly anyone patronizes them, and because people who are unfortunate enough to find themselves in line at a Second Cup rarely stick around, they these spaces to be much quieter and just better all-around workspaces than places that sell decent coffee. And the staff never ask you to leave or buy a coffee because there are always so many empty seats and tables that telecommuters like me are like a smokescreen that fools the uninitiated into thinking this place actually has something to offer other than a place to plug your laptop in.
“It’s hard enough for people like me to pretend to work, even when we have a decent workspace. I don’t know how we’ll maintain this facade if we have to work in high-volume spaces. We’ll probably have to shuffle around from busy shop to busy shop all day long as we’re asked to leave to make room for paying customers. But no one is considering this right now; it’s all about making money for investors.”
* The best part of waking up is satire in your pot.