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Tim Hortons Forced Us Out of Saint-Henri, Hints Café Saint-Henri Owner

Big chain moves in, independent café moves out.


Café Saint-Henri owner Jean-François Leduc has made a statement on Facebook that elaborates on the coffee shop's moveable tweet yesterday. Leduc, who also operates outlets in Verdun and the Latin Quarter, confirmed that the third wave coffee pioneer will indeed depart Saint-Henri. The decision comes in the wake of a new Tim Hortons to the neighbourhood and a subsequent rent spike. Leduc added that his employees can no longer afford to live close to his original café. Here is the full statement, translated.

Dear Saint-Henri,

My adopted neighbourhood ...

Almost five years have passed: you carried us to success and what a ride it was! I came to you for your lovely mix of residents, your proximity to the city centre, and, of course, for your affordable rent for the small business I wanted to start. I remember when we started, we were accused by some of gentrifying the neighbourhood. I took this criticism with a smile, saying: "When the big chains settle here, then we'll talk about gentrification!"

In recent years, I have seen, little by little, my employees move out of the area ... the rents are too expensive for an employee working in a café. How quickly you've changed! A few weeks ago a Tim Hortons opened down the street from Café Saint-Henri. Unrelated to our coffee shop, I am told. Except there's this: the rent paid by Tim Hortons is now the barometer for the renewal of our lease ... and we will not be able to pay rent at a Tim Hortons level.

We have therefore signed a short-term lease for a year until May 31, 2016. In the coming months, we will relocate to another neighborhood. If the opportunity arises, we will try to keep a pied-à-terre in Saint-Henri in a smaller space with a rent that will make sense with the type of operation we have.

Dear Saint-Henri ... five years ago we were among the first to participate in your revitalization and today we are the first to say goodbye. We are, in a sense, victims of our own success ... to you and me!

I hope this is just a goodbye!

- JF.