Kid-friendly Winnipeg coffee shop becomes meeting place for parents

Kid-friendly Winnipeg coffee shop becomes meeting place for parents

Visitors to Winnipeg’s Scout: Coffee + Tea shop could be forgiven for thinking they’ve just walked into a daycare.

With a large space in one corner featuring a play tent shaped like a camper, a chalkboard mountain range painted on one wall, and lots of books, puzzles and toys, the coffee shop was designed with the comfort of parents and young kids in mind.

Co-owner Katrina Tessier was inspired by a similar shop she visited while living in Victoria.

“There was a coffee shop that I went to a lot when I was on maternity leave that you could comfortably bring your children. When my husband and I decided to move back to Winnipeg — we’re both from here — we wanted to do something like that here,” she said.

Since opening a little more than a month ago, the Portage Avenue shop has become a meeting place for parents, Tessier said. She’s seen groups of parents meeting regularly, and even a doula meeting with past clients.

“It’s nice to see that that’s becoming what it is. That was the idea and it’s becoming that. It’s happening.”

Scout Coffee and Tea

Liz Larkin plays a game of Connect Four with Darragh Egan. (Cameron MacLean / CBC)

Having a space where Tessier can bring her three-year-old daughter, Stella, makes maintaining a work-life balance a little easier. The business’ moniker comes from Stella’s middle name, Scout.

“I feel like I’ve always been one of those people that have worked either multiple jobs, or when I was in school I worked full-time as well. So I think I’m just kind of used to that busy life. It’s nice — at least with the hours here, we’re closed in the evenings,” she said.

Tessier says she wanted to set up her business, located on Portage near Arlington Street, in the West End because it’s an area that is seeing an influx of young people with children — precisely her target demographic.

Scout Coffee and Tea

With a mountain range chalkboard, kids can literally draw on the walls. (Cameron MacLean / CBC)

But you don’t have to have kids to enjoy Scout. Tessier says the shop gets a little quieter in the afternoons, which is when she’ll often see university students working on laptops.

“We get people who don’t have children that come here and still really enjoy it. It’s kind of a happy, bright space. People like taking in the scene of some of the kids running around and having fun. It’s just a very happy, positive environment.”

Most of the products sold in the shop are locally sourced, with coffee from Black Pearl, tea from Brewt, baked goods from Oh Donuts and La Belle Baguette, and food from Beet Happening.

“If you shop here, you’re not only supporting us, you’re supporting 10 other families … our products are coming from.”

Katrina Tessier

Owner Katrina Tessier got the idea for her shop after visiting a similar kid-friendly coffee shop while living in Victoria, when she was on maternity leave. (Cameron MacLean / CBC)

Having a coffee shop where she could take her own daughter made it easy for Tessier to choose where she wanted to go when she was living in Victoria, and she’s glad to offer that option for Winnipeg parents, too.

“It’s not that if you go to other places it’s a horrible experience necessarily, but it’s more that you just know that your child is going to be more comfortable and it makes your day a little easier.”

Published at Sun, 14 Jan 2018 06:00:00 -0500