In the community of Sooke on Vancouver Island, a group of dedicated residents and coffee drinkers formed a co-op to save a local café.

With the café’s owner ready to sell the business and no buyers stepping forward, residents feared losing the beloved local meeting spot. The newly-formed Sooke Community Investment Cooperative wants to raise enough capital from the community to buy the business and eventually transition it to worker ownership.

“The coffee shop has become an essential community hub, and its loss would be a serious blow to the town,” a representative of the group said. “…The members of the steering community are the people who happened to be drinking coffee at the same table when the closure of the coffee shop was announced. Without this planned purchase, we would have no central location in which to drink coffee, chat, plan, and organize.”

Their goal is simple: keep the coffee shop open with the great employees it has, and “drink coffee and visit with them and each other”.

Working with Co-operatives First was a game-changer for this co-op getting started.

“We were confused, uncertain, and becoming desperate, but had no real idea about how to proceed. Within a week of our first contact with Co-operatives First, we were incorporated and had a clear path forward. Co-operatives First workers had all the time in the world to explain what needed to be done, how to do it, and finally how they could help. Without Co-operatives First, we really had no chance of getting this done. With them, we have that chance.”