I have a backlog of post ideas. Look for several this week. First up, the second set of Diamond and Coal awards.

May 4 Diamond Award Winner – City Cafe Bakery

City Cafe Bakery from outside
Diamond Award Winner - May 3, 2010
City Cafe Bakery inside
Great character, food and wages.

I have loved the City Cafe Bakery since it opened its first of three locations on Victoria Street. Now that I have one within walking distance of my home, I love it even more.

Here’s why:
– the baking tastes great even the bagels and croissants and we’re fussy about both
– great character: warm and funky with high ceilings and plenty of indications of the original Doon Twines building that it is in.
– great wages: the City Cafe believes staff who receive a living wage make better, more productive employees.
– it’s a bit eccentric but in a good way such as the honour payment system

I read in another blog criticism of the stucco exterior and as a heritage buff I agree but I was very pleased with how much of the old building that exists inside the City Cafe Bakery unit. I can live with the exterior too since it is an adaptive reuse of a building that could have sat empty for many more years and one that brings life to the east end of downtown Kitchener. The new life given to this building gives a glimpse of the exciting future awaits for this area especially after the LRT starts running with a station at the intersection of Ottawa & Charles.

Note: I understand there’s a piece on the City Cafe running on Grand River Living on Rogers TV this week.

May 4 Coal Award Winner – Payday Loan Outlets

payday loan #3

I’ll admit upfront that I have a negative bias behind the whole concept of a payday loan outlet especially the outrageously high interest rates charged that force people into a never ending cycle of debt. So having three in the heart of downtown Kitchener (at or near King & Queen) is disheartening to say the least. And there is at least payday loan #2one more somewhat more discrete on Water Street. For me, the number or absence of any payday loan outlets on King between Cedar and Victoria is a key indicator of the health of downtown Kitchener. Revitalization can only be considered a success when there are none.

One glimmer of hope for these pieces of coal is that they appear to have upgraded the properties making it easier for something more positive to take their place when their rents become too expensive.

Thanks to David (Daejin) for this nomination.

payday loan #1If you have any nominations for Diamond or Coal awards, please let me know.

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