Café OSMO at Notman House pours its first espresso


Emma Williams surveyed Café OSMO on the first day it was open for business, Monday afternoon.

“Look at the life down here!” said Williams, the former program manager of FounderFuel who spearheaded the completion of Café OSMO over the past six weeks. “It feels great. There’s life in the café, we’re selling lots of coffee on the first day and everything is going well.”

Over the past month Williams worked towards changing the at-times empty space in Sherbrooke street’s Notman House into a thriving café, organizing suppliers for coffee and cups, purchasing a coffee machine, organizing payment structure and more.

The coffee is being sourced from Anchored Coffee, a “microroastery” from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Williams said it was important for Café OSMO to buy from a high-quality supplier in order to compete with the popular shops around the block.

Still, the Café was receiving interest from regular people on the street on Saturday, before it had yet to open.

“I was outside doing a little cleanup on Saturday and some people walked by, saw the Café Osmo sign and said, “Oh, a new café in the neighbourhood, great!’ We’re already getting people in here today who don’t normally come by,” said Williams.

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Café OSMO will have an official launch event on February 25th, but it’ll be pouring java Monday to Friday from 8:00 to 6:00 every week before then. A filtered coffee goes for $2.50, an espresso for $2.50, a latte for $4.00 and a cappuccino for $3.75.

The new café takes the name of the non-profit that owns Notman House, the OSMO Foundation. Still, it took a healthy donation from serial entrepreneur Dan Robichaud last year to bring the café to life. It was a long-time plan for the OSMO Foundation to build a café in the belly of Notman House since 2014, when construction began on the back-half of the two buildings connected by the glass atrium.

Robichaud announced his substantial donation to Notman House shortly after his last startup, PasswordBox, was acquired by Intel in late 2014.

Photo credit: EvaBlue.com

As Notman House’s new wing took it current shape over 2014 and into 2015, a, the café space became more of a priority for the OSMO Foundation and Notman House campus director Noah Redler and campus coordinator Matthew Conti.

“We’re excited to see the OSMO Café come to life and further add to the Notman experience,” said Redler. “We would never have been able to accomplish this if it weren’t for the support of our partners, the local startup community.”

A large amount of beautiful window space allows abundant sunshine to enter, while couches, tables and chairs and a coffee bar adorn the large space. Free wifi is provided by Videotron, while an abundance of startup-related services are just a short walk away in Notman House, like Real Ventures, a seed-stage investor, reps from the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and dozens of startups in all areas of technology.

The space’s next project will be to transform a small area of green space nestled behind the café into a terrace, to be ready for summertime. Williams said it will be a Google-sponsored terrace, given that Notman House is a Google Center for Entrepreneurship.

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