Good Earth Coffeehouse expands in Canada


In 1991, Nan Eskenazi and her partner, Michael Going opened Good Earth Coffeehouse in Calgary to provide an authentic gathering place that emphasized exceptional espresso-based coffee and good food.

Their refreshing authenticity was fervently embraced by the community, resulting in a symbiotic relationship. “The community really welcomed us and supported us,” says Eskenazi. “Over the first 10 years of our business, we opened 10 coffeehouses around Calgary. [After that], we began to look at transitioning into a franchise-business model so that every coffeehouse we opened could have an owner.”

More than three decades and 52 units later, Good Earth has seen exponential growth in franchising, with plans to expand across Canada in 2023 and beyond. The brand’s core values have remained constant and unwavering in its earnest commitment to a strong sense of community, connection and responsibility to the environment.

“Our coffeehouse was founded on lifestyle and personal values,” says Eskenazi. “Our brand really resonated with people that were attracted to that, so our core values and our core personality helped us attract franchisees.”

Building Community
Good Earth welcomes potential franchisees who share the same down-to-earth vision in cultivating the seeds of its core values.

“The most important thing is for [our brand to resonate with our franchisees],” says Eskenazi. “They have an affinity for the brand and its values for sustainability and the commitment to serving their community. These are the types of franchisees with whom the brand resonates – the people we look for.”

Eskenazi continues, “In many cases, we find franchisees who choose to grow with us and move from one to multiple locations. In some cases, we attract people who want multiple unit locations right off the bat. [One of our partners] in Mississauga, Ont. will open several new locations in early 2023.”

The initial franchise fee to open a Good Earth location is $35,000, with site costs ranging from $395,000 to $595,000. Once a franchisee is approved, a five-week intensive training program takes place, primarily online. “There’s also hands-on, week-long operational training, where the franchisee learns to manage the food-and-beverage menu before opening their coffeehouse,” says Eskenazi. She refers to this training as the “commissioning process, where we have support staff working with [franchisees] to prepare and open their coffeehouse.”

In terms of real estate, a franchisee can “expect quite a spectrum,” says Eskenazi. “We’re able to adopt a square footage that’s as small as a 350 sq.-ft. kiosk to around 1,800 sq. ft. with interior and exterior seating.”

Creating Partnerships
Notable changes in the marketplace that were accelerated by the pandemic brought about another opportunity for Good Earth to grow and expand, leading to a partnership with the Indigo brand. The two companies share the same vision of social and ecological values, while benefitting from each other’s strengths.

“When [Starbucks] closed dozens of its locations within Indigo stores, we saw an opportunity to partner with Indigo and bring Good Earth coffeehouses into new markets,” says Eskenazi. “We felt a keen alignment with the brand and when we sat down with them to discuss the opportunity, it became apparent that we had great values between the two brands and wanted to pursue that relationship.”

Eskenazi says since Good Earth’s first location that opened in 1991 was primarily a coffeehouse with a little bookstore corner inside, “this feels, in some ways, like it’s coming full circle. When you look back through the history of coffeehouses, [Indigo] created an important place for people to share news and talk about the day’s events. Indigo is really creating a place for people to gather and spend time. The synergy between the two brands and the idea of books and coffee goes together very well.”

Good Earth’s partnership with Indigo has created a golden opportunity for expansion. “We have grown organically over our 30-year history, but [this] is a wonderful opportunity for us to expand beyond western Canada,” says Eskenazi. “We’ve been in Alberta for 30 years, as well as B.C. and the Prairie provinces. This relationship will help us execute our expansion across Ontario and Eastern Canada.”

Looking Ahead
“Good Earth Coffeehouse will continue to grow its Indigo sites, with more than a dozen in the coming year and beyond. We will also be looking at traditional street-front locations, both urban and suburban,” says Eskenazi. “We also have a long history of working in non-traditional sites, such as healthcare, fitness and university sites.”

Currently, Good Earth has opened locations at the University of Calgary, the University of Northern British Columbia and the Capilano University of North Vancouver.

“We’re looking for opportunities at other university campuses because it’s such a natural relationship. We find that these facilities are looking for brands that help support their sustainability goals, so we can really bring an important aspect in helping them achieve their goals,” says Eskenazi. “We’re ahead of the curve considerably. Many things we do and try to improve upon have been evolving.”


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