Good Earth Coffee Embarks on National Expansion

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Calgary-based Good Earth Coffeehouse is setting its sights on further markets in Eastern Canada after opening its first Toronto location earlier this year.

Michael Going, company founder and CEO, told Retail-Insider that it has secured a spot in Montreal and will soon enter the Quebec market as well.

“Earlier this year we opened our first cafe in downtown Toronto and we have our second coming on stream in the early New Year as well,” says Going. The first location is on the corner of Dundas Street East and Jarvis. The second location will be just off Yonge Street and Eglington Avenue.

The first entry into Quebec will be at the CHUM hospital.

“We’re just getting it going quickly. So it will be a scramble to see if we can get it open by the end of this year. If not, it will be very early in 2018,” adds Going.

Good Earth is a network of coffeehouses with 48 locations throughout Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Ontario. The first Good Earth Coffeehouse opened in Calgary in 1991. Going and Nan Eskenazi are the founders.

Several locations across the country will be opening in the near future with more stores set to open in Kelowna, Regina and its first location in Winnipeg.

“Once we enter a market we definitely want to expand in it. We never have numbers in mind. It’s really opportunities of real estate but more importantly opportunities with franchise partners,” says Going.

“We’re looking now for both individual operators who will open one cafe but we’re really interested in looking at groups that would be interested in taking multi-unit locations. Four or five at a time in both the GTA and then outside GTA in southwestern Ontario as well.” 

The Good Earth location at the Ottawa airport just over two years ago was the company’s first entry into the Ontario market. The company’s expansion efforts have been aided by Compass Group Canada.

Good Earth has been an extremely successful coffee shop business despite stiff competition from huge brands such as Starbucks and Tim Hortons as well as numerous other smaller coffee establishments springing up everywhere these days.

“We’re very good at what we do and I think consumers are coming around more to who we are and what we have been doing for 26 years,” says Going. “Consumers are becoming more sophisticated and can appreciate very good coffee matched with a better food menu program than most of the international and national chains have.”

Michael Kehoe, a retail real estate specialist with Fairfield Commercial Real Estate based in Calgary and Good Earth’s real estate representative for the Prairie Provinces in Western Canada, says the coffee industry is a very competitive and crowded category but Good Earth has been able to “differentiate its brand from the competition with an earthy, good-time-feel format that seems to appeal to a wide array of consumers in the Canadian market.”

“Customers seem to identify with the Good Earth homegrown concept and the brand’s perception of  goodness and value,” explains Kehoe. “Good Earth has recognized that Canadian urban markets have a firmly established coffee culture as competition in the premium beverage range has reached a fever pitch. The coffee business is a Darwinian struggle driven by the rising costs of labour, rents and ingredients and Good Earth has a winning formula that is fueling their expansion across the country.”

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior National Business Journalist with Retail Insider in addition to working on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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