Sorry, no tobacco or champagne

There's a new coffee house in Winnipeg, one that hopes to maintain a family-friendly atmostphere.

When Christine Shuwera decided to open a business in her new neighbourhood of Point Douglas, she didn’t concentrate too much on the things she wanted to sell. Her focus was on the things it wouldn’t offer.

“I wanted to open up something that didn’t involve alcohol or gambling,” said Shuwera, who bought a house in the neighbourhood five years ago, and always lamented the lack of a “comfy, cozy place to have a cup of coffee.”

So Shuwera decided to take matters into her own hands, opening Willow’s Coffee House last November on Sutherland Avenue between McFarlane and Annabella streets in the rapidly recovering neighbourhood. [Link]

What has the response been? Just ask one of the employees.

Karie Tobacco-Champagne is one of two Willow’s employees, both of whom are members of the local community. She said that Willow’s has established a base of regular customers who are eager to support such a vital neighbourhood business.

“Everyone is happy to be here,” she said. “All the homemade soups and sandwiches and the beef stew have been pretty popular.” [Link]

Sounds good, but what do the local drinkers and smokers think?

Drinker and smoker: "It's not fair! You guys are teasing us!"

Cofee house owner: "What do you mean?"

Drinker and smoker: "Well, you don't serve us tobacco and champagne here, but you have Tobacco-Champagne serving us. It's just not right!"

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through and You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.


  1. Tobacco-Champagne?! Now that’s a clever way of service- cuts cost by camouflage!!

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