By Mia Hildebrandt
Coffee shops are of no shortage in Edmonton, but one stands alone on 124th Street: the Barking Buffalo Cafe.
Not only are three women co-owning a coffee shop an anomaly, but they share the space with the local shop Salgado Fenwick.
“Everything came about pretty naturally,” co-owner Kassie Burkholder said. “There was nowhere on 124th Street to get good coffee.”
Having two different kinds of retails in one place isn’t a foreign concept to the rest of the world, Burkholder explained.
“For Edmonton at the time it was so weird. People were like ‘what do you mean you’re going to have a retail space and a cafe?’” said Burkholder.
Nonetheless the city has embraced the concept.
“One business helps feed the other business.”
Burkholder expressed how lucky she feels to be able to work alongside other women.
“The coffee community is very accepting of all different types,” said Burkholder. She feels she hasn’t experienced the challenges to the same degree that other women have to face in other areas of the industry.
“However, we are always very conscious in everything we do to support other female businesses.”
Burkholder expressed that a unique thing about the Barking Buffalo is that they are genuinely friends with other cafe owners.
“We hope that they are successful and we want them to be successful,” said Burkholder.
She shared a story about helping someone from another cafe learning to use a new espresso machine.
“Some people would look at that and be like ‘she’s your competition’ but I think it makes us stronger as women and as women business owners. We have to have each other’s backs.”
One thing that differentiates the Barking Buffalo from most other cafes around the city is that they don’t charge extra for alternative milk.
“We believe it’s a huge deterrent for people who can’t or won’t drink dairy in their coffee,” said Burkholder.
In addition to giving the option of alternative milks for no extra cost, the community is what really sets this cafe apart.
“We’re very personal with the people who come in. We all know our regulars and what they drink; it’s really a community hub, especially for the neighbourhood.”