By Matthew Horwood
Starting in December, O-Train Confederation Line commuters will be able to stop at Tunney’s Pasture station to enjoy gourmet coffee and locally baked food from Happy Goat Coffee.
The local company is opening four concession stands at Blair station, Rideau station, Hurdman station and Tunney’s Pasture. They will offer specialty coffees and teas, baked goods, sandwiches and roast coffee beans.
Happy Goat Coffee Company was started in 2009 by artisan coffee roaster Pierre Richard, who passed the business onto Henry Assad and Ahmet Oktar. The coffee shop opened its first location on Laurel Street in 2011 and added six more locations in the city beginning in 2016. The company also sells its coffee to more than 100 restaurants, cafés, bars and supermarkets in the Ottawa region.
In May 2019, the City of Ottawa started a bidding process to open concession stands along the light rail transit (LRT) Confederation Line. Henry Assad, president and CEO of Happy Goat, said his company won the contract in July, beating out seven other companies such as Tim Hortons and Starbucks.
Assad said Happy Goat was chosen because of their “very strong proposal,” which included partnerships with other local companies to sell food and drinks, and plans to produce close to zero waste.
“All we have invested in the company over the last six years is finally bearing fruit; that’s also part of the reason we were chosen,” he said.
The opening of the locations was originally slated for November, but according to Assad, the COVID-19 lockdowns in March delayed construction on the locations. However, he said things were back to normal and the projects were going ahead by July. With construction on the four kiosks complete, inspections finalized and all 40 staff having received training, the Tunney’s Pasture location will be open at the end of November.
Assad said for a small company that doesn’t often receive exposure, the marketing value of four new locations along the LRT is “immeasurable.” He says Happy Goat Coffee has been given an opportunity to show off their culture, values and philosophy, and that the company is “very excited.”
“We are proud to have been chosen by [the] city and to have them put trust in [a] company like ours,” Assad said. “This is a unique opportunity that gives us ammunition to expand even further, whether it’s in the Ottawa area or outside.”