Customers buy coffee for those in need

Cadence Coffee has been home to what it calls its “pay it forward” chart for the past three months.

The pay it forward chart is a white board that allows staff to record drinks customers buy for someone who may be in need or is just having a bad day.

The idea was the brainchild of Brittany Clark, a supervisor at Cadence Coffee,  which opened its doors in 2001 at ‪6407 Bowness Road N.W.

“It was my idea to put it up, but I was inspired by a post I saw on Facebook,” said Clark, 20.

The Facebook post was about a man in New York who opened a pizza shop intended for the homeless or those who couldn’t afford food, she said.

The shop might eventually start offering food for their chart, but for now, they are sticking with drinks, she said. While she believes in the concept, one disadvantage is that some people don’t pay it forward, but take advantage of the free drink, she said.

“The pro is obviously people can use it whenever they are having a bad day or they don’t have any money,” she said.

Clark said people’s reactions to the pay it forward chart have been extremely positive.

“People have been really surprised and happy about it because they haven’t seen anything like that around Calgary,” she said.

Cadence Coffee has always had a community-focused reputation and I think it’s just reinforcing that reputation.”

Giving back to the community has been her main goal for initiating the chart.

“I like it. It makes me feel like I can give back in a small way.”

Coffee Cure: Brittany Clark adds a small coffee entry to the Pay it Forward chart at Cadence Coffee in Calgary on Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016. The chart is where you can buy a drink, like a coffee, for someone in need or having a bad day. (Photo by Jessica Phillips/The Press)
Coffee Cure: Brittany Clark adds a small coffee entry to the pay it forward chart at Cadence Coffee in Calgary on Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016. The chart lets a customer buy a drink, like a coffee, for someone in need or having a bad day. (Photo by Jessica Phillips/The Press)

The chart seems to be going over with customers, including Kayley Istace, a first-year student at the Alberta College of Art and Design, who tried out a Monte Cristo sandwich, hash browns and hot chocolate on her first visit to Cadence Coffee and also donated a small coffee to the chart.

“My first time at Cadence Coffee was great. The outside looked very plain and I wasn’t expecting too much but the inside decor made the place feel very homey. Immediately, when I got in I felt comfortable. The staff was friendly,” Istace said.

“I love the pay it forward chart. I’m glad to see small businesses trying to help with the less fortunate. I think it’s important to help with the less fortunate and I try to make an effort to help where I can. Even the smallest of things like a coffee could make someone’s day.”

Ellyca Ford has been working at Cadence Coffee on and off for about 10 years.

“I wish the wall had baked goods. Other than that I actually really like having it there,” she said, adding that she is inspired when she sees those who are willing to buy coffee for those in need.

I like it. It makes me feel like I can give back in a small way. – Brittany Clark

Ford said many customers comment to staff about what a good idea the chart is and that they wish other cafes and restaurants also had one.

“I think the shop has gotten noticed a lot for being a community-friendly coffee shop,” she said.

“It always had been. But now it’s a lot more prominent.”

About Jessica Phillips 7 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Jessica Phillips worked as a reporter for The Press during the 2015-16 academic year.