Saturday, June 22, 2024

Here’s why a local coffee brand closed its flagship location in downtown Victoria


With the doors now closed for good, coffee lovers looking for a hot (or cold) brew in downtown Victoria are scratching this sit-down café off their list—for the time being.

Last Friday, patrons waved goodbye to their favourite baristas as 2% Jazz Coffee, a Victoria-based coffee company, closed its decade-old flagship location at the Hudson building on Fisgard Street.

But the closure is a step forward to freshen up the company’s business model, according to owner and coffee connoisseur Sam Jones.

“We’ve outgrown the space, and we can’t take up that small of a space for our coffee roaster. But when you take a coffee roaster out of that space, it’s too big for my business model,” Jones told Victoria Buzz.

Opening his business back in 1996, Jones launched 2% Jazz as an outdoor kiosk—and it was only up from there.

“2% Jazz has been around for 26 years now,” he recalled. “My first location was at the Times Colonist building, right around the corner from my current Hillside location.”

All these years later, Jones operates a handful of coffee shops around town, including 2% Jazz Hillside and Sequoia at the Royal BC Museum, with his products also sold wholesale at various locations throughout Greater Victoria.

He recently purchased a purpose-built coffee roastery that’s open to the public, moving the roaster out of the now-shuttered flagship café and into the new, expansive space in Central Saanich.

“I’m having a lot of fun and growing my business model right now,” said Jones. “It’s not a cafe; it’s a roastery. It’s our wholesale and coffee here. It’s where all the magic happens.”

But the closure of 2% Jazz’s Hudson location prompted a flood of memories. After all, it was Jones’ main business hub for over ten years.

“Some days, it felt like I was there forever, and others it felt like a barely started there,” he admitted, thanking his loyal customers for their continued patronage. 

“We’re all changing right now. Everyone’s changing with the world. If you don’t and you’re stagnant, you’re going to be left behind.”

At the end of the day, Jones says he isn’t shrinking his business.

“This closure comes in order to be able to grow more. It was such a big space for me; it was hard to grow beyond that,” he explained.

“Now that I’m closing that space, I’ve got all this capacity to grow again. I’m very excited about the prospects—some great spots are coming up in Victoria, and I’m exploring several options.”

“Stay tuned and stay caffeinated,” Jones added with a laugh.

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