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Coburg Social closure has local coffee shops booming

The popular coffee shop unexpectedly closed in August

Coffee shops in the Halifax Coburg Road area are roaring in business, as locals scramble in search of a new favourite spot after the recent closure of Coburg Social. 

Kelly Irvine and Jane Merchant, longtime owners of Coburg Social, bought the building in 2012 from the owners of Coburg Coffee House, which opened in the early 2000s. Locals helped build the success of the business as it attracted students, neighbourhood residents and workers. 

“I went to Coburg Social every other day,” says Grace O’Malley, a Dalhousie student who lives beside the old coffee shop. “I wouldn’t even go to study. I would just purchase my daily dose of caffeine and go on with my day.” 

Irvine and Merchant sold the business in December 2022, handing the coffee shop over to new management. Coburg Social kept bustling with new owner Kathryn Finlayson for eight months until the sudden closure in August 2023. 

Finlayson is a veterinarian who works out of Stewiacke River Animal Hospital in Colchester County. When contacted by the Dalhousie Gazette about her plans for the building, she declined to comment.

“I found out about their closure through an Instagram post this summer and to be honest, I was in denial,” says O’Malley. 

The sign posted on the door of the former Coburg Social was written in black marker, and states, “We appreciate your patronage! Sorry for the inconvenience.”

Business is booming at nearby coffee shops following Coburg’s Social’s closure. 

“We saw a huge increase in business from August to September this year,” says Lara Lewis, one of the owners of Glitter Bean Café. “Our sales went up 54 per cent, making us feel busier than ever.”

Glitter Bean Café opened its doors in June 2018 and has not seen this much traffic since its first year.  

“We had incredible sales the first two years we were open,” says Lewis. “COVID set us back for a couple of years, but now, in 2023, we’re finally starting to see pre-pandemic sales come back.”

Lewis believes this increase is crucial for keeping their business alive. 

Anika Panet-Carino, a second-year student at the University of King’s College was attracted to Coburg Social for its convenience. 

“It was nice to leave class and know that I could get coffee just down the road,” says Panet-Carino. 

“Although the location was nice, I think this will be good for me to discover more coffee shops,” says Panet-Carino. “My new go-to is Tart and Soul.”

Located directly across from King’s campus, Tart and Soul has also seen its business skyrocket. 

“This September has been absolutely bananas,” says owner Lisa Brow. “Last year was the first time since COVID that we started seeing an increase in business, but this year is even busier.”

With Glitter Bean buying their pastries from Tart and Soul, Brow knows that the increase in business benefits both locations. 

While regulars will miss Coburg Social, Brow looks forward to filling the community void by opening their doors to students, locals and friends in the neighbourhood.  

 “We just love getting to know everyone,” says Brow. “That’s what we wanted when we opened this place.”


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