The Lucky Bean Café is a place where people gather to socialize, enjoy specialty coffees, freshly baked pastries, nutritious food items, and board games. It’s the newest social hub located on Main Street in Montague.
“We try to provide a fun atmosphere and a good vibe for people coming to the café,” says owner Matt Clendinning, who moved to PEI from Ottawa.
The year-round business, which is open seven days a week, has a charming dining area, board games, and a communal puzzle table for customers to piece together. The walls are adorned with paintings for sale.
“When it came to name choices, The Lucky Bean Café came to me because I feel lucky to have purchased the building we are occupying,” says Matt.
He studied business in college and worked in business development for six out of the 10 years he was employed with Canada Post.
“Working in the public sector wasn’t for me,” he says. “Since resigning from my position, I travelled and did odd jobs, including managing a bar, which was very helpful for self-employment. There are many similarities between managing a bar and a managing a café. You have to think quickly on your feet, you become resilient to working long hours, and you learn to work efficiently at a quick pace.”
Matt had ideas for self-employment within the business sector, but none of those plans included relocating to a small rural town on PEI he knew very little about.
He came to the Island by chance to visit friends. By choice, he decided PEI is where he wanted to live and work.
“I bought this heritage building and tried to rent it out for commercial space.
The idea didn’t work. I needed to do something. I did the research and I knew the town needed a specialty coffee shop.”
Researching business ideas included learning the demographics of the area, industry trends, re-learning how to start a business, consulting old school books, and writing a business plan.
Community Business Development Corporation (CBDC) assists in the creation of small businesses and in the expansion or modernization of existing business by providing financial and technical services to entrepreneurs.
Matt learned about CBDC through a local realtor, who suggested he contact Martina MacDonald, Executive Director of CBDC East, for financial and business assistance.
Matt took his business plan to Martina and to Helen Antle, Business Development Officer of CBDC East, which is located at the Rural Action Centre, Main Street, Montague.
“CBDC East was crucial in starting my own business by assisting with a start-up business loan,” says Matt.
“Martina and Helen were instrumental in providing contact information of local entrepreneurs who offered business advice. As well, I enrolled in a small business course offered through CBDC East, which was very helpful.
“Becoming self-employed would have been more challenging if it were not for CBDC East, especially since I am not from PEI, so they really made being a newcomer easy.”
“All of my 10 full-time and part-time employees are from the Three Rivers area,” says Matt. “We are now staffed for the fall and winter months.”
For more information about services offered at the Rural Action Centre, visit www.ruralactioncentres.ca.