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This spot in New West is now a mini-café, convenience store and meet-up room

Here’s all you need to know about Westminster House Society’s new venture.

Westminster House Society, the non-profit that helps women and youth girls recover from addiction, has brewed up an all-new venture — a café, convenience store and meeting room rental mashup. 

Called Common Grounds Cafe and Convenience, the space located at 609 Third Ave., invites the public to stop by for a cup of Joe at their full-service coffee bar and buy a bag of chips or a bar of chocolate from the fully-stocked convenience store attached to it.

While still at the stage of setting things up, the café when finished will offer a range of beverages including cappuccinos, Americanos, flat whites and more. The convenience store will feature a host of snacks, condiments, beverages, ice creams, toiletries among other items, said Tressa Cooper, business development assistant at the Westminster House Society.

This new initiative by the 1981-founded Westminster House Society has been designed to support the society’s recovery programs, said Cooper.

The social enterprise will redirect all its profits to help the society provide primary and secondary stage care including daily group therapy, life skills and individual counselling and more for recovering clients and their families.

“The idea has been floating around for some time,” said Cooper.

“Of course, it's not a new idea. I've heard of other treatment centres that have their own stores on site, kind of like a canteen. So we expect that a lot of our clients and other friends in the recovery community will come in to buy items. We expect strong patronage from them.” 

The café and store is set inside the society’s commercial property that was previously used for group therapy, art therapy and acupuncture sessions for its clients, besides other programming purposes.

Now it's a hangout spot that seats about 10 people. Adjacent to it is a 20-seat-capacity meeting room — previously the non-profit’s development office — that the public can rent for meetings, said Cooper.  

Since it's a Westminster House Society venture, the café/convenience store's operations will be managed by its staff; some of the enlisted clients who are part of the recovery house’s transition program will also work a few shifts at the new space, added Cooper.  

The vision for the space where a café blends into a meeting room, she said, is to one day have it resemble “a recovery club” — a social club for people in recovery.  

“But with that said, we're totally going to be open to the public,” she added. 

Common Grounds Cafe and Convenience is located at 609 Third Ave; its grand opening is on Friday, July 21. The meeting room can be rented for about $50 an hour. However, non-profits such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous can rent it out at half the rate. To book the room, or for details, write to shop@westminsterhouse.ca.