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East Van Roasters: from bean to bar in the Downtown Eastside

East Van Roasters

About this story

East Van Roasters is Vancouver's first bean to bar chocolate roaster, shop and café. Set below the historic Rainier Hotel in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, East Van Roasters is an enterprising non-profit run by PHS Community Services Society.

When PHS's funding was cut in 2012, it decided to focus its efforts on finding new and creative ways to sustain its services and employ people in the community. What it came up with was a concept that reinvests all profits back into the neighbourhood while at the same time hiring and training women who are recovering from addiction and who are staying at the Rainier Hotel.

“We wanted to do something meaningful. It is so important to have something to focus on when you are going through addiction recovery, but it is also hard to find work,” states Shelley Bolton, the visionary behind East Van Roasters. “There is such a need for dignified, creative work in the Downtown Eastside. We wanted to create work that is unique, interesting and above all something people will feel proud of.”

Vancity has long been a supporter of PHS, helping it set up many of its other social enterprises. When PHS approached Vancity for start-up capital to renovate and purchase the equipment to launch East Van Roasters, Vancity was happy to support such a worthy cause.