A new cafe has opened up in the city's exchange district, serving coffee with a cause.
Sam's Place, once located on Henderson Highway, has officially been open for a week in its new location and has received a great response from the community.
"It's been pretty phenomenal," said Alison Greenslade, manager of Sam's Place. "We really weren't expecting it. We rebranded while we went through this transition, and we think the rebrand really shares our program goals and mission so much better than before, so we really think that's resonating with folks."
Sam's Place is a social enterprise of MCC Manitoba. Not only are they serving coffee, but they're also helping young people learn employable skills.
"We run a youth program where we try to empower and equip young people who are typically facing barriers to employment. We hope to bridge those gaps towards employment for them."
The youth are invited to come and learn over a three to six-month period alongside trainers, mentors and other supportive volunteers. In addition to that hands-on training, the program provides access to workshops, certifications and engagement opportunities for participants to receive well-rounded teaching.
"For us, all of the revenue we make goes back to the youth in the program," said Greenslade. It takes quite a bit to run the youth program because it is robust. We pay for certifications for all our participants. We pay for learning software and supplies for them. This can cost a lot of money because we really want the learning to be intentional and with integrity. We want to make sure they're actually walking way well equipped."
"When you come into Sam's Place, you can feel good knowing that literally every penny you spend on a cup of coffee, a bag of coffee, and our retail items is servicing our program."
Alison says their new location is very large and is surrounded by big beautiful windows.
"We encourage people to come to sit awhile, work or have a coffee date," said Alison. "There is a lot of seating space."
She says one of the most interesting things about their new space is that they share a wall with the MCC Manitoba material resources program.
"That door is actually a barn door that is just windows," Alison explained. "We can watch the work of our material resources program through our coffee shop. So if you come on Wednesdays and Thursdays, you'll be able to watch our volunteers pack kits or pack blankets that get sent internationally."
"Not only is the atmosphere calming and enjoyable, but it's beautiful to watch other work of MCC happening at the same time."
Sam's Place, open Monday-Friday from 7:30 a.m.- 3:30 p.m and Saturday from 9 a.m.- 4 p.m., is located at 140 Bannatyne Avenue, near the corner of Bannatyne and Rorie.