For many people, coffee shops serve an important communal need in our culture: they’re a place to gather—a go-to spot for work meetings, intimate chats and caffeine-fuelled study sessions; a place where new relationships begin and others end. It’s that personal, social appeal that Good Earth Coffeehouse has been capturing since it opened in the Shops at Boudreau three years ago.
“For me, it feels like your home coffee shop,” says owner David Hole. “It’s got that atmosphere where everybody knows everybody, and there’s a lot of conversation that happens between the baristas and our incredible clients.”
Hole’s brother Patrick opened the coffee shop in early 2015, and David, who had previously worked as a flight paramedic, came on-board over a year ago to help with back-end operations. It was meant to be a temporary move but became a permanent one when Patrick moved on and David took the helm.
The Calgary-based chain opened in 1991 with the goal of providing a comfortable place for people to meet over great coffee and food. Communal tables, reclaimed furniture and entertainment are all part of the vibe at Good Earth locations. In recent years, the company has been rapidly spreading that concept, with new locations popping up from Victoria to Ottawa. One day soon, Good Earth also hopes to set up shop in the Maritimes and become a nationwide presence.
For now, though, the chain is concentrated in the west, with the St. Albert location being one of five in the Edmonton area. With its mix of boutique shops, unique dining options and location next to the Botanica residential development, the Shops at Boudreau has proven to be an ideal spot for Good Earth.
“With the way that Boudreau was set up to encourage walking traffic, we thought it would be a perfect scenario where people are walking and it would become a big stop,” says Hole.
He also credits the patio area and the fireplace for attracting customers, many of whom have become familiar faces.
Good Earth’s engagement with its customers goes beyond simply serving up coffee and nibbles, though. The café also hosts live entertainment, often featuring local talent. High-school students do slam poetry a few times a month, and the St. Albert Public Library comes in for poetry and amateur jam sessions. Even the baristas get in on the act at these events, something that Hole encourages. On a larger scale, the Good Earth chain also gives back to the communities where it’s located. Its annual Gingerbread Family campaign runs late in the year and sees the corporate office donate money to local food banks, based on sales of gingerbread cookie packages.
Much to the company’s delight, the response from customers continues to be very positive.
“They’ve been really responsive coming in,” says Hole, who believes it’s more than just the location and entertainment that has made Good Earth a popular stop. Besides providing a place for customers to hang out and socialize, the coffee shop has been able to make a connection with the larger community. “It’s really dependent on that community bond,” Hole explains. “And that’s where Good Earth’s concept has always been.” t8n
Good Earth Coffeehouse at a Glance
Location: #115, 130 Bellerose Drive, St. Albert, in the Shops at Boudreau
Franchise Owner: David Hole
Specialties: Great, ethically sourced coffee and a variety of fresh food, including soups, sandwiches and baked goods made in-house
Interesting Fact: The Shops at Boudreau and the neighbouring Botanica community are located at the site of the original Hole’s Greenhouses & Gardens, co-owned by Hole’s great aunt (and 15th Lieutenant Governor of Alberta) Lois Hole.