- 250 Kennedy St.
After stealing our hearts in West Broadway, the local Thom Bargen Coffee & Tea has extended its love affair with Winnipeggers to the corner of Graham and Kennedy.
“I’m a huge fan of downtown,” says co-owner Graham Bargen. “It’s kind of like Sherbrook (Street) where there’s a lot of potential and a lot of ways for it to grow.”
The previously converted will recognize the attention to detail and craftsmanship synonymous with the owners, Graham Bargen and Thom Jon Hiebert, and can expect the same exquisitely poured lattes and drip coffee on the menu.
New to the location are muffins baked in-house, Green Carrot Juice Company products proudly on the line, and some dramatic design features that lend to the sense of place.
Those who have graced the floor-to-ceiling windowed storefront have likely first admired its modern wood paneling, rich marble counters and lustrous copper pendant lights.
“We wanted to grow that destination feel – and try to match the vibe (of Sherbrook), bringing that feeling of community downtown,” says Graham.
The number of local businesses involved helps add to that sense of community – represented among Thom Bargen’s mugs, design fixtures and products – and even through a neighbouring tenant, Modern Supply Co., which shares the 250 Kennedy St. address.
“We always planned to have a retailer there,” says Graham, of Modern Supply Co. “Any way we can support a local business, being a local business, is important – and she (the owner) just has a very beautiful space.”
The shops co-habit the location intimately, sharing a similar esthetic divided only by windowed walls or sharing the same air in some nooks.
The most notable addition to Thom Bargen’s downtown look is a living wall – a collaboration with the local Verde Plant Design, who chose appropriate and complementary plants for the installation (mostly selected for their beauty and hardiness for the climate). There is even an irrigation system rigged into the wall to keep the plants healthy and lush.
Graham credits his and Thom Jon’s travels for inspiring their fresh concepts and ambitious décor.
“By taking some risks, we try to show that you don’t have to put a coffee shop in a box, you can do something fun with it,” says Graham.
Perhaps increasingly in this location, the Thom Bargen duo had motive to stand out among the concentrated number of coffee shops in the area.
Despite the competition, they remain optimistic about their future downtown. “We saw the value in the density downtown,” says Graham.
“We’re playing the long game with this one… I think it’s only going to get better.”