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Posted on 7th Feb 2013 @ 2:21 PM 15 comments

Transcend Coffee to Close its Downtown Edmonton Location

Earlier this week, we at Transcend Coffee made the difficult decision to close our Jasper Avenue café in Edmonton. The last day of operation will be February 28, 2013. This was not an easy decision to make, but it is the right decision for Transcend at this time. 

I would personally like to thank our customers and the entire downtown community for welcoming us, for supporting us and buying our coffee. I am extremely proud of the work that each and every one of our staff, managers and trainers did at Transcend Jasper. My sincere thanks goes out to each one of them. 

We achieved some impressive things over the nearly two years we were open downtown. We added a food menu and a music program that added to the atmosphere and community of a vibrant downtown café. 

Unfortunately, despite continued revenue growth, Transcend Jasper did not achieve a sustainable level of profitability and even our most optimistic projections did not show that trend reversing. While we were eager to join the downtown community, we found that the large size and design of the Jasper Ave location made it virtually impossible to run a sustainable coffee-centric café. In our deliberations, we investigated a number of possibilities to re-invent the space, perhaps adding more food or other products, but Transcend is not a restaurant, we are a coffee company and at the end of the day, we decided that we needed to re-focus on what we do best, and that is coffee.  

The establishment of the Elevation Room, the live music venue that operated in the basement of the Jasper Ave location, was one of the most interesting and unexpected developments of running a downtown café. We were happy to provide a place where a unique music community could be established and hope that it can continue in some form. We will work with Joe Gurba, who was instrumental in starting and running the Elevation Room, to hopefully find a new home where that community can flourish. 

For the past year and a half, we have also run a small kitchen out the back of our Argyll location to supply baked goods and unique savory items for our three cafés. The closing of the Jasper Avenue café means that we will need to wind down that food operation as well. Unfortunately the kitchen is simply not sustainable with orders from only two cafés. We will begin to investigate new options from high-quality food producers to supply our Garneau and Argyll cafés and our customers with delicious food that pairs well with our coffees and other beverages. 

Moving Forward

Transcend’s other two Edmonton cafés, Transcend Garneau (8708 - 109 Street) and Transcend Argyll (9869 - 62 Ave) will remain open and will continue stronger than ever. They are both sustainable café operations and will be here for the long haul. We are more committed than ever to source, roast and serve the best coffee in Edmonton.

In the months to come, we will re-focus our time, attention and resources on coffee and areas of our business where coffee is central. Expanding wholesale sales, encouraging and training other coffee shops and cafés in Edmonton and across the country is a way that we can share our expertise and grow the quality coffee culture in Canada. We will also invest more time and attention to grow online coffee sales at transcendcoffee.ca. We will strive to understand coffee even better than we do today. We will continue to find some of the best coffees on the planet. We will experiment and learn and get even better at roasting coffee. 

Closing our Jasper Avenue café was a painful decision. But I believe it was the right one. It will make Transcend Coffee stronger and allow us to continue what we do best. There is a great deal of potential for amazing coffee in this city and across the country. The future is bright for Transcend, and I am looking forward to the months and years ahead. 

Poul Mark
Founder & CEO 
Transcend Coffee 

Tags: Transcend

Comments

Adam Snider said on February 7th, 2013

I totally understand the reason behind this decision, but I hope that you'll eventually open a new downtown location in a smaller, more sustainable space. It was great to have a Transcend location in the downtown core.

Kimberly said on February 7th, 2013

Crushing news. Transcend was my favourite spot, particularly on a sunny summer Saturday during the market season. You will be missed.

Adam said on February 7th, 2013

I have to agree with that other Adam dude. Mind you, it's mostly because I yearn for #yegdt to succeed. I was only at Transcend Jasper twice, but that was because it seemed to always close so early compared to, for instance, The Roast. My memory of that place was being beautiful. In the loft portion of the location, I had actually asked a girl I had been dating if she wanted to become "official," or whatever. Apparently, 26 year old's still have to clarify those sorts of things. It was her stipulation, being 24 at the time (even if in hindsight, she acted like she was 16).

Brian said on February 7th, 2013

Best beans and coffee downtown. If Edmonton's "downtown revitalization" takes hold, you should consider opening a smaller shop with just an espresso machine and beans.

Evan said on February 7th, 2013

Well, Roast is an abomination so I can't go there. Starbucks is Starbucks. Remedy has decent chai but crap coffee. So congrats, Credo, you're now the best coffee shop in downtown Edmonton by default. Transcend closing shop is my generations Kennedy assassination. Just saying.

Andrea said on February 7th, 2013

We will miss you Transcend!! Thanks for making our mornings more enjoyable :) Lucille, Ruth and Andrea

Jack Groot said on February 7th, 2013

Poul, I'm sorry to hear of your closing. Such decisions are never easy. In spite of the short term pain, the long term benefit to making a calculated and wise decision should only strengthen your company. My heart goes out to you and the staff. Best wishes.

Brookes said on February 7th, 2013

I agree with Adan Snider's comments. This is sad to hear, given that your coffee is very good, but unsurprising given the size of the location. I'm also certain you'd be more profitable in a smaller location, and not having to worry about the food. Just keep it simple - wicked coffee, period. Hopefully you can find a downtown location that's more suitable. In the meantime, keep up the great roasting.

Adam Patterson said on February 7th, 2013

Sucks to close down just before summer, The other Adam's am I should meet for one last coffee.

Eric Hoff said on February 8th, 2013

I'm sad to hear this news. Transcend is one of my favourite coffee shops in the city and I loved the downtown location.

Faith said on February 8th, 2013

I'll also miss the best downtown coffee, but I'll happily drive south for it. And Adam #2? Sometimes us girls need clarity. :)

Edward said on February 8th, 2013

"If Edmonton's "downtown revitalization" takes hold..." ....yeah I think we are starting to learn that it really isn't.

Tieta said on February 8th, 2013

I agree with A. Snider. Sad to see Transcend downtown go. Hope to see you back in the future. See you at Garneau for now. All the best . Tieta

Lin said on February 22nd, 2013

So sad to hear this is closing down. I only recently heard about it through the Elevation Room and was planning to check it out as part of my efforts to explore more of Edmonton. This sounded like a really cool place, and I'm bummed that I won't get to check out Transcend now, or take in a performance at the Elevation Room .

Mike said on June 17th, 2013

Whenever I go downtown, I (used to) go to Transcend. Recently, I found myself having to go to Credo for the closest replica experience. It was good but disappointing that I wasn't experiencing it at Transcend. I do understand the reason for the closure but may I suggest the West End of the city as a great place to expand? This is a coffee wasteland out here in need of something truly beautiful!