Soon, Elora residents will be able to get a haircut, a coffee or both, all in one place.
The Gents & Kings Barber Lounge has been preparing for a soft opening of their new coffee shop called the Gents & Kings Cafe. Once officially launched, the new cafe will operate within the barbershop’s location on Metcalfe Street from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
With renovations already taking place within their shop, co-owners of the Gents & Kings Barber Lounge, Andrew Massaad and Karen Kana, expect the cafe to officially launch in spring 2022.
“Hopefully come spring and summertime, we're going to setup the shop outside in front of our space, where we can have some few tables and chairs and people can hangout and have a good cup of coffee, and some treats and stuff like that,” said Massaad about the concept.
To help manage the cafe, a head barista has been hired to oversee its operations, along with two additional staff. Later on, more staff may be added to keep up with demand. Kana said they are excited to have their head barista join their team.
"He's a great addition and he knows a lot within the cafe industry," said Kana.
In the future, Massaad mentions they also have plans to add cafes to their barbershop locations in Guelph and Oakville.
“Every shop has limitation, but yeah, at every level, there will be some form of a cafe."
When asked what inspired the idea for a cafe, Massaad said opening a cafe is something they have been wanting to do. Currently, each location has a bar for customers to have an alcoholic beverage with their haircut.
As an alternative, Massaad said they began to offer a form of a Turkish coffee to customers, which quickly became a hit.
“That's kind of the idea for an elevated cafe bar would be very suitable for our shop and everything that we have been doing," said Massaad. “It's out of necessity where that came from."
What makes Turkish coffee different from other espresso drinks is the way it is prepared, said Massaad.
“When you make Turkish coffee you boil the coffee ground, it's a very fine grind, and then you boil the coffee with the water, you almost melt the grounds into the water, and then you drink it,” said Massaad, explaining the cafe will serve other specialty drinks alongside Turkish coffee.
While they are similar to other cafes in town offering espresso drinks, but Massaad said that's where the similarities end with Gents & Kings cafe.
“We have a few things up our sleeve that we're going to be introducing that are unique in the way that we are making coffee that will elevate the whole coffee scene," said Massaad about Gents & Kings Cafe. "We don't want to be another coffee shop, we don't want to be repetitive."
Kana mentions husbands who come in for an appointment sometimes bring their wives and children as well.
"Especially during summer, a lot of people come in and walk in and they come with their wife, kids and stuff like that," said Kana, "and we offer a drink to whoever's getting their haircut, but the wife is just sitting there, not wanting to drink, so it's a just addition to the bar to have other items to drink."
By opening the cafe, the duo hopes to invite more of the community to check out their business. He notes in the past seeing some residents staring into the shop, but not coming in.
"Now we've created the cafe, we have created a reason for them, you know? To come in and take a look at the shop," said Massaad about potential customers. "I think the cafe gives them a reason to come into the shop instead of standing outside the door and staring in."
Speaking with some customers and residents already about the cafe, Kana mentions they seem intrigued by the project.
“They’re very interested, because everything we’ve have been doing has been different in Elora,” said Kana. “Our clients are very loyal, very supportive and they are all excited to see it come together."
“We're very excited, especially me and Andrew, we love coffee ourselves, so we’re excited.”