Cafe Verve opened their doors five years ago on Dunmore Road in Medicine Hat. Where the walls are lined with local artwork, and the evenings are often filled with local live music, people can find carefully brewed coffee and teas, freshly baked sweets, and hand-made sandwiches, soups, and salads inside the bright cafe.
Before they opened the relaxed and modern coffee shop, owners Betty-Jean and Eugene Cleland participated in a six week business-related program offered by Community Futures Entre-Corp, where they gained knowledge on opening and sustaining a business.
“We feel Entre-Corp has played a huge part in the business community in Medicine Hat with their accessible resources and support. We started our business journey by taking the business course, and since then we’ve always felt welcomed to return for other support and advice,” says Betty-Jean.
Opening a coffee shop has always been a dream for Gene, and Betty-Jean looked forward to bringing this passion to reality with her husband. A flavourful and fresh cup of coffee was always part of their travels and they like to visit the local cafes in Medicine Hat. The coffee culture in the city further invited them to continue on the journey to opening Cafe Verve.
“I really find our community so caring, especially the coffee shops. Even though there are a handful of locally-owned coffee shops already in the city, the owners were open to giving us advice when we reached out. There’s a friendship between us. We aren’t competitive, and that’s a beautiful thing,” says Betty-Jean.
For the first four years of the business, the interior invited guests to sit inside with the sun shining through the windows. But, in 2020, the MHBIG was being offered by Community Futures Entre-Corp. After learning more about the grant in 2021, Betty-Jean and Gene applied and started to build their patio through a local contractor.
“We were blown away by the generosity of Community Futures Entre-Corp. Being four years into the business, we had already invested so much. The MHBIG covered everything, the umbrella’s, the furniture, the wood — we used every penny of the grant,” says Betty-Jean.
The community has embraced this new addition to Cafe Verve. When the patio officially opened in 2021, people were enjoying the sunshine as early as April. One year later, the seats were full the first week of May.
“People are always mentioning how happy they are about the patio. It is so nice now, because the umbrella’s bring so much attention. Before, you could miss us driving by, but people see us with the umbrella’s. Especially with the red, there’s a pop of cheer. It’s so beautiful,” says Betty-Jean.
Betty-Jean and Gene are happy to offer a new coffee shop experience to the residents and visitors in Medicine Hat. They say Medicine Hat truly does have a coffee culture that people adore and appreciate, and Cafe Verve, like every other locally-owned coffee shop in the city, has a unique palette to share with the community.
Cafe Verve can be found online at https://www.cafeverve.ca. Looking for resources from Community Futures Entre-Corp? Call 403-528-2824.