So...why the home grown market?

So...why the home grown market?

So, I wanted to make sure that I was able to get this typed out on….computer and the interweb, before the Christmas time as I knew that I wouldnt get a chance to type it out during the Christmas break. Things are getting amped up to 11 when January hits as a whole, and so since I had time to put some thoughts out there…here goes.

After my post about the struggle and people responding on a really positive note, I decided that the idea that I had been chewing on with a friend of mine named Kelso, it was time to just get the idea out there and see what happens. I had to take the risk and just broadcast it as taking risks is what has to happen to see if its going to be able to be done. Its how I started my mobile coffee business, this risk taking adventure…..hard risk don’t forget.

As I have been sharing with people who are asking, as well as vendors, the market space in Kelowna is an interesting one. There are some great markets out there, and I am in no way going to bash anything, because markets are good for the community and great for those who want to see if they have a shot at this whole entrepreneurial thing, or if its just a side hustle for funzies sake. The Okanagan has a community that has finally come around to well…wanting more community. There was a trend where people were happy with their house in the burbs and were happy with sticking with their own cliques and not talking to any one else. But that time has changed, and evidence of that is in the marketplace.

As more and more high rises are being built in the downtown core of Kelowna, a culture from the Vancouver coast are moving up here to live in such high rises so they can experience that same no-need-for-cars lifestyle. Even in the winter time, being able to walk everywhere is what the culture is showing what they want. And as more and more homes in the burbs are sitting dormant cause no one is buying them cause of their cost and walk score, it is inevitable that these homes downtown are being built. This is a positive turn for the small business downtown as they wont need to shut down for the winter cause people dont go downtown to shop or dine out in the winter. Kelowna is interesting that way. When the snow hits, they either hibernate or go to the hills. But with the rise of these high rises, businesses will flourish if they keep up with the culture game and make their space relevant to what the signs of the times are.

Bit of a rabbit trail here, I know, but lets get back to the market talk.

Kelso and I agreed that Kelowna needs a market for a culture to exist, support each other, showcase their product, and have an incredible place to hang and socialize. For me, it was no mistake that I found a home that was The East Side Flea in Vancouver ( shout out to the homies at the ESF! Miss ya’ll…and thanks to Alberta for giving me a chance to make coffee for peeps! ) and it is no mistake that I am here wanting to create a space for this same culture to exist, grow, and learn. Kelowna needs a space like this.

So, how does one get to a point of having a home base for this community to exist? Well we had to start somewhere, so why not at a location where the community of Kelowna and Westbank ( West Kelowna…settle down ) know about. Green Bay ( Home Grown 001 ) is a well known place for its involvement in Kelowna as THOUSANDS of families have been on its property, old skate clubs use to visit on a regular basis when they had that drop in center in the gym, and more and more rental groups come by each year to use their facilities. It is also another place I call home from my history there, and so why not start it at a place that can not only host a lot of parking, but also more and more community.

Home Grown 001 will have a few ‘hue’s’ of Valentines day as it is two weeks before V day and folks can come and get in their early shopping for their lovelys, but the heart will remain the same behind it all. To give others a platform to share with others what they have to offer, to build community with those who want to be a part of it, but to know we cant do it alone. And heck, if we can eat food, drink drinks ( only at certain locations ), laugh and make new friends while buying all the things, why not?!

As I could go deeper into why I think this needs to happen, I’ll end it with this….As I will be continuing my mobile coffee business all around town with pop-ups and collabs ( even at the Home Grown Markets ), this is going to be a branch out of what The Local Chemist is all about. Think somewhere around the time of a 1900’s western style chemist that had a lot of bottles of stuff behind the counter. You would come to them and tell them your ailment and they would grab a little bit of this and a little bit of that and serve you the mixture for you to take away. This is sort of what TLC is about. Grabbing a little bit of this ( specialty coffee ), and a little bit of that ( cafe consulting ), with a splash of that ( podcasting ), and a pinch of that ( blogs ), and now a droplet of this ( craft market for the culture ) and we will see what comes of it. As time goes by, TLC will continue to add more pinches and splashes of this and that, but for now…!


The struggle


The struggle

The struggle is always real. I mean for anyone running their own small business, everyone has their own way in which they and their business can struggle. But what I’m finding important in my mobile-specialty-coffee business is that, what keeps me from throwing in the towel is the passion/fire/goals that I have in mind for myself personally and within the business.

I do have passion…most days. To see new relationships happen within my business so that what I am able to do ( make coffee ) is able to help and benefit others and/or their business.

The days I don’t have passion is when things don’t work out. Really gets to me. Even the little things. I had an Australian friend ( Shawn ) say on the phone to me not that long ago ( as I vented about my struggles that I was whining about ) that I do take these things personally for sure cause I’m just too nice of a person! I emphasize about him being an Australian cause there’s something about it when a friend with an accent gives you advice/affirmation/discipline. Just seems to stick with me more than with a person who has an accent just like mine. Doesn’t seem to stick as much 🤷🏼‍♂️.

This I know about myself. I know I’m too nice. I know I’ve let people walk over me in life and in business cause I’m not one to be a jerk about things as it’s not in my character. But it has cost me a lot of things because I’ve been nice. Just can’t find it in me to be the opposite most of the time. And when I do turn away from who I am, I feel awful and gutted of what I did and what I said.

But anyways. Business struggle….

Being a mobile specialty coffee shop has its ups and downs. I love that I can basically go anywhere with my set up and make coffee for people. But being mobile has its trials when it’s not a daily cash flow. Bills need to be paid y’all, but being mobile has its advantages.

You see, when I was in Vancouver, I was running a cafe called Great Dane at UBC. As a whole, I actually really really loved my job. It brought about stresses for sure, some I couldn’t change and some I could, but all in all, I loved ‘treating it like my own’. But as I treated it like my own, I hit a work schedule of an average of 86 hours a week. Yep. This was around the time my daughter was born. And because of my crazy work schedule and trying to keep things moving, I actually have blanked out/lost memory of a stage of my daughters life. I don’t remember what she looked like. The only way I can remember or get a glimpse of what she looked like is if I go back in my photo albums.

I hate that! Yep, actually hate it. I hate that I allowed something that I’m passionate about, even though it put food on the table, to remove from my memory my own child’s growing-up-moments. Hate it.

Did I mention that I hate it? Would I take it back? Yes because it’s a moment in my life that I will never ever get back. Hate that.

So, with being mobile and being an event based cash flow business, I am getting more opportunities to spend time with my kids and my wife to make memories. There’s a line in a song that says, ‘ I wanna be rich in memories not money, our love is our inheritance honey.’

Does memories pay the bills or put food in my children’s mouth? Not really. But without memories, how can my family grow? If we can’t look back and see where we’ve come, how can we move forward?

That was deep, I know. ( Enter the sound clip for Keanu Reeves saying ‘woa’ ).

For my family, it seems like it’s comjng down to lifestyle. What lifestyle do we want? I can’t remember really a regular schedule of me and my wife going out and it just being us. That’s another distant memory. But the lifestyle we want to live is not one of excess, big house, vacation house, fancy things ( although I’m an apple fan )… more stuff. It’s a lifestyle we want to live where we can make memories, actually have dinners together, watch our kids grow and learn, be there when they cry and laugh. We want to make sure that we are the ones raising our kids, and not someone else. Sure the kids go to school, but we will try to be the ones that our kids know that we love them. That we weren’t the ones that let work and ‘a chasing of a lifestyle’ get in the way of having our little humans growing up and knowing they have parents that are around and love them. But that’s what we live and try to breathe out every day.

That was deep.

So where does that leave me with my mobile coffee business? At this moment I still crave to have my own place to have coffee and conversations be made every day. Brick and mortar. And that has its own challenges for sure. But as time goes by, and bills add up ( hello growing food bill ), something has got to change for sure. Not sure when or how, but I know it has to change.

Thanks for reading. If there was anyone reading.