Moncton cafe that offers safe space to community looking for support to stay open

Click to play video: 'Moncton cafe owner hopes community support will save business'
Moncton cafe owner hopes community support will save business
A Moncton cafe owner who has been supporting the city's homeless community through her business has recently found herself in need of some assistance. As Suzanne Lapointe reports, the community is already stepping up to assist. – Apr 12, 2024

As a teenager, Emily Flint experienced personal struggles that left her “broken, for a lack of better words.”

Back then, Flint didn’t have a place to go to find support or a feeling of safety. She says that, in part, motivated her to open up her Moncton, N.B. cafe, which strives to be accepting to all.

“That’s a huge incentive as to why I do what I do,” she said.

Flint is the co-owner of The Groggy Fog Cafe, which is located just down the road from Harvest House, the Humanity Project and other centres that offer resources to homeless people. The cafe is also queer-friendly, and gladly opens its doors to all.

Flint says it’s not rare for people to stop by, and share a meal.

“We have no problem making sure everybody who comes in who’s hungry … is fed. And as long as people are respectful of us, we will respect them and make sure they’re fed and clothed,” she said.

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But Flint finds herself in need of help to keep the cafe going, now that she can’t afford to replace a broken food prep fridge that will set her back more than $10,000.

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She’s turned to the community for help through a GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign, that’s raised $1,200 so far of her $11,000 goal.

The cafe’s regulars, including Jayden Johnston, say the space is invaluable because there’s no judgement.

“As somebody who is a trans man himself, finding a place where you can just go and just be … and if people say or do anything, you know, you’re secure, you’re safe,” said Johnston.

“Nobody is going to do anything. Like it’s very nice and important to have those spaces where you can just be.”

Johnston says it’s difficult to see businesses such as The Groggy Frog Cafe struggle, because it’s rare to find this kind of support.

“There’s that part that (asks) ”Oh, what’s going to happen if that space goes away? ‘Like, is somebody else going to take over and open a new one? Or is that yet again, one less space for people to feel comfortable in no matter what?”

Flint remains optimistic, however. The past six months, she says, has been financially difficult due to back-to-back repairs. As the GoFundMe write-up declares: “running a business post-COVID have been froggin’ hard.”

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“I figured that when I made the GoFundMe, the community would be pretty receptive and understanding because people are very vocal — saying how they love to come here,” she said.

“If it wasn’t for that, I probably would have kicked it a long time ago in terms of passion towards the business. But seeing all the responses of positivity makes me want to keep going, and I’m glad to see all the support coming back for us.”

— with files from Global News’ Suzanne Lapointe 

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