Brewing success


Nov 19, 2007

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Pushing into a market dominated by giants such as Tim Hortons and Starbucks might seem a reckless endeavour, but Michael Going and Nan Eskenazi do not see it that way.

Their Calgary-based Good Earth Coffeehouse and Bakery enterprise has 14 outlets across Alberta, is about to enter British Columbia.

Perhaps ambitious, Good Earth plans to have 50 outlets within the next three years and has a wealth of company information available to interested parties on its website.

Started 17 years ago, the husband and wife team only recently decided to aggressively enter the franchise market -- just seven of their current outlets are franchise operations -- because they saw a wide opening for their type of coffee shop.

A wide opening in this supposedly crowded field?

Let's go back 17 years.


"I was in real estate and shopping centres, and Nan in the retail coffee business in Seattle. I persuaded her to move to Calgary, and we decided to go into business for ourselves. The coffee shop business was obviously a natural."

And this is where they saw their opening.

Aside from realizing the "coffee culture" was on the move, they also saw the "environmentally-friendly" era was dawning.

"We decided all our coffee beans would be organic, and none of our sandwiches or other food items would have additives or preservatives," says Eskenazi.

"It was about building a new brand," explains Going.

They "cobbled together" as much money as they could, including borrowing $25,000 from Going's mother, Anne.

Unlike most new businesses, Going and Eskenazi didn't have to struggle to make ends meet.

"We were not going up against anyone. We were starting a new concept. There was a void in the market, and we decided to fill it, and get into the organic, wholesome foods, and environmentally-friendly field early."


"The big, international corporations actually remove choice from consumers, and remove business opportunities for others. That's why they are so prolific, but they can be beaten."

Their advice to would-be entrepreneurs:

Don't try to go up against the giants, with their financial muscle they can squash any newcomer. Instead, develop a new concept, customers are actually searching for, even if the customers don't realize it at the time.

"And, be prepared to work hard, because you are going to have to, and be prepared to mortgage your home and put everything else you have on the line."