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Javaroma expands to YK Centre with federal funding

Javaroma is using $86,000 in federal funding to help open a location in the YK Centre Mall, making it the business’s fourth outlet in the city.
On Monday, Northern Affairs Minister Dan Vandal announced a federal investment for Javaroma to open a fourth location. “Today I am very happy to announce an investment of $86,000, delivered by CanNor for Javaroma Gourmet Coffee and Tea to expand their business operations into the YK Centre Mall here in downtown Yellowknife,” said Vandal. Jonathan Gardiner/NNSL photo

Javaroma is using $86,000 in federal funding to help open a location in the YK Centre Mall, making it the business’s fourth outlet in the city.

Northern Affairs Minister Dan Vandal delivered the news at Javaroma on Franklin Avenue on Monday.

Rami Kassem, the owner of the coffee shops, was pleased to have his operation selected for the federal funding.

“The funding from CanNor (the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency) makes life way more easy to go through this exciting step of opening our fourth location. Everything is getting expensive here in Yellowknife and everywhere in Canada,” said Kassem.

He said he would use the funds to purchase appliances such as refrigerators and other such equipment. He also stated that the cost to pay down large appliances and espresso machines is substantial.

The investment from CanNor covers about half of the cost to open a new location, according to Kassem.

“I’m sure that after we open there’s gonna be more (expenses), but CanNor provided $86,000, and up to now we (invested an additional) $86,000.”

The new location is expected to open in January or February 2023 in the basement of the YK Centre, where Gourmet Cup used to be. Kassem said it won’t be difficult to fill the four new full-time positions created by the new coffee shop. If the business is unable to find local workers, its had past success hiring foreign nationals that want these types of jobs to practice speaking English.

Vandal explained why Javaroma was selected to be funded instead of any other small business.

“Because they applied for the funding that’s available in Canada. Once the (application) was made, it is assessed by administration and a recommendation is forwarded to myself and my team. (We decide) on whether or not it’s a good project. Javaroma applied, and they were very successful,” the minister said. “We’re looking forward to helping other businesses grow, create jobs and grow the economy.”

Kassem said he he learned about the CanNor fund from a customer, and that this was his first time applying for financial assistance from the federal government.

“I always hear how complicated (it is) to go through the details of applications, paperwork and everything. Then I said I would give it a try,” he said.

He expressed his gratitude toward residents and the government.

“I’d like to thank the Yellowknife community and everybody for their support during and after the pandemic,” he said. “Without the programs from the government, like this program, maybe (we wouldn’t) take this step.”