Applying Junior Achievement's lessons to a booming café
Creating jobs for Islanders -
Chris Francis is enthusiastic about coffee, coffee culture, and the impact that ethical sourcing can have on the developing-world farmers who grow coffee beans.
“I was always a lover of good coffee,” says Francis, who co-owns Receiver Coffee in Charlottetown with partners Sean Bruinooge and Colleen MacKay. “One of my main goals when I went into business was to operate a place where customers could come and know that they were getting a good ethically sourced specialty quality coffee.”
Francis beams when talking about how Receiver was able to buy the entire crop of a Honduran farmer who had decided to upgrade his crop quality and his family’s annual income. He’s similarly excited when he hears that people in far-away cities are being recommended to make Receiver a destination when they visit PEI.
“I don’t think this coffee shop is aimed at a particular crowd. It’s a place where people who appreciate good coffee and food can come to spend time in a relaxing atmosphere.”
While he learned about coffee and cuisine as an adult fan of urban coffee shops, Francis says he learned some of his most valuable business lessons as a Charlottetown Rural High School student joining friends in Colonel Gray High’s Junior Achievement program.
“There was a lot of discussion of business basics that was valuable, but the thing that stuck with me the most was the value of being able to work with people – especially people who are different from you,” he said of his JA experience. “Someone who sees things differently may have strengths you don’t and ideas you would have missed if you just dealt with people who are the same as you.”
That team work is evident in the happy, bustling environment at Receiver Coffee’s two locations on Richmond Street and Water Street in Charlottetown.
The provincial government has been a long-term supporter of Junior Achievement of PEI, recently announcing that it would be contributing $35,000 to the organization for 2018.
Investments in JA encourage entrepreneurship while preparing participants to better understand the workplace and business.
“Both our urban and rural economies are driven by the efforts of ambitious, hard-working entrepreneurs like the owners of Receiver Coffee,” Economic Development and Tourism Minister Chris Palmer said. “The training and support government provides to new businesses is repaid by the growth of jobs, exports and our economy the shows why, despite our small size, Prince Edward Island is the mighty Island.”