The City of Lacombe’s oldest running café will soon be closing it’s doors. Kavaccino’s opened in Lacombe in 1996 and is located on 5028 51st Street inside of an older but charming small house. The restaurant serves coffee, beverages, and homecooked desserts, soups, sandwiches, and more.
The owners of the business made a social media post on August 17th notifying customers of their last day of operation on September 3rd of this year. The post listed several maintenance issues, equipment failures, and the added stress of the pandemic as reasons for the closure.
“There really isn't a "main" reason we're closing. It's the culmination of hundreds of small things that just kept piling up. It would be nice if we could point to one thing and say "This. This is the problem. If we fix this everything will be fine." Unfortunately, it's just not that simple. There's a finance aspect to it of course. The pandemic wasn't easy for anyone and grocery prices have been doubling and tripling and more. We've had particularly bad luck with our building as well. We knew when we took over there was work to be done but it turned out to be far more extensive, and immediate, than we anticipated,” said Sarah Stark who owns the business alongside her husband, Alastair.
Sarah has also been experiencing some medical problems which makes running the café more difficult for she and her husband.
From fires, plumbing and electrical problems, to equipment failures Sarah estimates the pair have put $30,000 into repairs, replacements, and renovations some of which other local businesses in the City have helped the business to repair. Parts of the home that contains Kavaccino’s is believed to be around 90-years-old.
“We've been trying to determine that for years, but many of the records have gone missing. We've determined that the newer part is probably from the mid 60's. The older parts of the house are a mystery. Our best guess is some time in the 1930s, but that's only a guess,” said Starke.
Starke does not know what is next for the building but is welcoming suggestions as she weighs out her options.
Sarah and Alastair took over ownership of the café in March of 2019. At that time, there were only three other cafes in the City and now there are five in close proximity to the business. Starke says the opening of coffee chains in Lacombe such as Second Cup and Starbucks would mean some changes for Kavaccino’s if they decided to stay open.
“We've always provided more than the chain coffee places since we offered a full lunch, a nice place to sit, and our ingredients were on average higher quality. However, I think if we were staying to compete with them, we would have had to shift what we offered quite significantly,” added Starke.
Since making the social media post, Starke says they have received over 300 views on the post and over 60 comments. Additionally, she says the café has received plenty of cards and kind messages over the past few days.
“I have mixed feelings. On one hand, owning a café has been my dream for most of my life and so closing down is hard. It feels like letting people down and I hate that, especially since we've had an absolutely amazing team who have always stepped up and gone above and beyond when it was needed. We've had some lovely customers too, who I'll miss seeing everyday even if I didn't always have time to stop and chat. On the other hand, it's a relief. I've been trying to keep up with everything that needs doing in a small business but I'm exhausted,” said Sarah.
In the meantime, Kavaccino’s will continue serving coffee and other homemade treats until September 3rd. On that day, Sarah hopes to have a cake to share with the community. Following that, Sarah will be working up North while Alastair will continue to maintain the property until they figure out what is next for Kavaccino’s.