Local business, check. Coffee, check. Shiny lights, check. Strategic location, check. Making you want to keep coming back, check. Equator Coffee has so many great elements working in its favour, that it has created a formula for success! s
The shiny and lit up “coffee” sign that can be seen while at the corner of Churchill Avenue and Richmond Road are what initially lured me into the cafe. Like a small child, I stared at the sign while waiting for stoplights to turn green while sitting in my car at the intersection. A couple of weeks ago, I pulled over and finally got out of my car to investigate more. And I am sure glad that I did! Chris Petrie, the manager of the cafe, tells me that the sign has created its own special following, always being the centre of attention for photos and giving people something cool to tweet or Instagram about. I am not going to lie, I did too! The craftsmanship behind this sign is local, made by Scott Adamson of Gas Light Electric.
Let’s Talk Coffee
As the name of the cafe implies, coffee is most certainly served here. The beans are sourced through a coop that owners Craig and Amber Hall belong too. However, the beans are proudly roasted just outside of Ottawa in a little town called Almonte. Equator sells their coffee to local Ottawa businesses and restaurants. I have seen their big delivery truck driving around town dropping off their product to places such as Art-is-in Bakery, Green Rebel, Wellington Gastropub, and Morning Owl. If you are like me, the smell of good coffee beans is always a great scent. When I walked into the cafe in Westboro, the strong but delicious smell I instantly fell in love. Whole beans can be purchased at the cafe in Westboro or directly from the roastery itself.
Coffee + Customer Service = Success
Petrie believe that patrons of Equator Coffee should experience two things equally when they come into the cafe. Those two things are excellent customer service and great coffee. Many times, businesses either get one element or the other and then something suffers. Equator Coffee is ensuring that the 50/50 formula holds true. The baristas are taught by Petrie himself on the proper way to make a great cup of coffee. Your cup may take slightly longer to make, but you can rest assured that it is being made well. Espresso shots are weighed out for precision. Every time I have gone into the cafe, I have had nothing but great service. And the staff are patient too. There have been a few times that I have been that inquisitive customer who has asked a lot of questions to make my final food or beverage selection. The staff at Equator have kindly waited and provided valuable input to help me make my choice.
You may not know this at a first glance, but Equator Coffee has some Aussie influence. Petrie brings his coffee shop experiences from Australia to Ottawa. For many years, he operated and managed cafes in Sydney. I couldn’t pick up much of an Aussie accent from Petrie, but after he explained the concepts and ideas that he brought from down under, it all made sense. Cafes are very spacious, communal and serve as a nice escape from home and work. These elements were integrated into the set up and layout of Equator. The cafe space could allow for more seating and tables, but it is not over packed. Patrons want to feel comfortable and many families come in with strollers. The added space allows people to maneuver more freely and we all know that Westboro has a lot of families and strollers. Also, the communal table in the middle of the cafe is also something commonly found in Australia. This was included here and serves as a place to meet and greet new and old friends.
Supporting Local All Around
Many of us say that we love to support local. Myself included. What I truly appreciate about Equator Coffee is that they are a local business who in turn support other local businesses as much as they can. All of their baked goods come from Second Avenue Sweets or Nat’s Bread. The milk products come from Brum’s Dairy located in Pembrooke. Some of the interior elements are handcrafted locally too like the infamous coffee sign by Gas Time Electric in Almonte. Petrie explains that they will not be mass expanding their locations any time soon. Equator wants to change the coffee scene in Ottawa, but wants to make sure that they perfect this before moving on to the next spot prematurely.
Go look for the shiny sign and be sure to get yourself a cup of some fine local coffee and some sweet treats. You will have to go early in the morning or during the day, as they currently do not have any evening hours.