Barren Ground Coffee's Beanormous Expansion

Eric Binion, Co-Founder & CEO, Barren Ground Coffee, stands beside their Diedrich coffee roasting equipment.

Barren Ground Coffee, a family run coffee roaster and espresso bar in downtown Yellowknife, underwent a 'beanormous' expansion and then reopened their retail coffee shop, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Just three months after moving into their new downtown location, the coffee retailer was forced to temporarily close its doors at the height of the pandemic, before reopening in November 2020 after their expansion.

Barren Ground co-owner Eric Binion says that the business took a risk by attempting an expansion during a pandemic, but they persevered through the uncertainty. They had an end goal in mind to explore larger wholesale markets within and outside of NWT and to increase their focus on online sales to boost their business.

The business expansion included purchasing a new, larger 12-kilogram coffee roaster and installing venting to meet an anticipated increase in demand for their locally roasted coffee.

Barren Ground pressed ahead with their expansion with support from the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor), which provided Barren Ground Coffee with almost $20,000 in project funding for the roaster purchase.

Binion believes the company can pick up where they left off before the pandemic and anticipates more hiring as their Yellowknife-based business grows.

Barren Ground sells espresso, drip coffee, baked goods, coffee beans, and coffee brewing equipment and other merchandise. With online and wholesale orders accounting for a large share of their business, the company plans to continue filling orders in Nunavut and NWT, and expand into northern Alberta, and then beyond.

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