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Fools & Horses Coffee

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A lively local coffee shop culture has taken hold in Winnipeg – and it needed to find its way downtown.

Fools & Horses brought all the tried-and-true espresso drinks to Broadway – but other than serving caffeinated drinks, it veered far down its own path with some completely original menu items and concepts.

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For instance, debuting the modbar in the city – an under-the-counter espresso machine that exposes only the taps for coffee dispensing – the product offers clean views from customer to barista, while also extending a top-quality product.

On the topic of taps – Fools & Horses also brought FreshTap to Winnipeg, becoming the very first local restaurant to serve wine from a keg.

From noon until close, the coffee shop masquerades as a neighbourhood pub, offering local beers on tap as well as the low-carbon wine.

With all of its distinguishing features, innovation is of obvious importance to Fools & Horses – but just as intentional is its sustainable practices.

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Fools & Horses composts all cups and waste possible at the shop – even labelling the garbage chute as the “last resort.”

They’ve managed to achieve approximately 85 per cent compost and 10 per cent recycling production – meaning only 5 per cent is left for the landfill.

They are constantly weighing their garbage, recycling and compost creation, working toward a waste-free café.

The decision to carry local products and have local suppliers was an environmentally-conscious one – as was distributing wine and beer from taps, which cuts down on carbon emissions, waste and spoilage.

Fools & Horses has also been incredibly mindful of creating a great social environment – with beautiful design and décor, opening its walls to local artists-in-residence, and collaborating with the community on after-hours events and meetings.

Fools toast“One of the main ideas behind creating Fools & Horses was to provide a place for people to do what they love, particularly with respect to food, arts, and the environment,” says co-owner James Magnus-Johnston. “So I suppose you could say that we can’t take all the credit for creating something unique, but rather enjoy cultivating opportunities for the broader community to highlight things they’re passionate about.”

With its five-person ownership team, the management of Fools & Horses also lives by this mantra, allowing each to specialize in an area they’re passionate about, rather than trying to follow a traditional corporate model.

While they feel it allows the shop to run more efficiently and have many aspects to it, Magnus-Johnson says: “Communication is always key.”

Fools & Horses Co-Owners, James Magnus-Johnston, Lauren Kroeker, Amy Bortoluzzi, Kendra Magnus-Johnston, and Benjamin Gillies, were the winners of the 2015 Downtown BIZ Award for Most Innovative Business Model.