As you walk through the doors of the Alderney Landing Ferry Terminal in Dartmouth, the smell hits you: “Maple. Baked goods. Bacon. Coffee!” Instantly, you need one of everything before you board the boat bound for the Halifax Waterfront.
The dynamic duo behind the glorious cacophony of smells, is none other than barista, and bean baron Earl Joudrey; and biscuit-baking boss Steven Kendall.
The two NSCC grads (Akerley and Marconi Campuses) founded Port City Café in 2015, after conversation during a chance meeting at a farmers’ market highlighted the similarities between the customer bases of two vendors.
“We’d been talking about what each other’s goals were for our companies, and they were basically the same,” says Earl of the merger of his company—Port City Coffee Co.—and Kendall’s company—Biscuit Cutter Baked Goods. “Customers had begun associating the two because we were side by side, so we decided to merge, become one company and grow.”
“It was my idea,” says Steven.
“It was totally mine,” says Earl.
All about community
Earl and Steven do agree that one of the best parts of opening a café in such a central, lively location is their regular customers. “It’s awesome to know you’re a part of someone's day,” says Earl. “Being able to practically have their order ready as they approach the counter is a great feeling.”
Steven adds, “Offering a great selection of locally-produced product, locally-sourced product is important to us. We want to know our customers, to say hello and be a part of their day.”
Port City Café is geographically located at the center of what many consider an ongoing resurgence in Downtown Dartmouth. As more innovative, vibrant community-minded companies make their mark in the area’s downtown core, Port City Café sees their client base grow. “Dartmouth is an amazing city,” says Earl. “It's a great place to live and a great place to do business.”
It’s a grind
While they certainly have a lot of fun, Earl and Steven admit that owning and operating a business isn’t always easy. “There have certainly been a lot of ups and downs,” says Steven. “We’ve learned a lot, but given our backgrounds and experiences in business, we’ve each been able to bring a lot to this new venture too.”
Both agree their education has played a major role in helping their business do well. “NSCC teaches you to succeed, it prepares you for life—the real world so to say,” says Earl. “Like in business, if you wanted to succeed in the program, you had to work hard and be prepared to jump in.”
With one location up and running, the pair is already considering what’s next. “We have a few things we want to do,” says Steven. Earl adds, “Sooner, rather than later, we'll have another cafe and grow from there.”