Intent Coffee opened in Southgate Centre in September with such promise. Run by Mavi Tolentino and Reika Herradura, both identifying as queer first-generation Philipinx, Intent Coffee's vision was to "create a positive social and economic impact to the marginalized communities here in so-called Edmonton as well as uplift Indigenous coffee producers in the Philippines."
In preparation for their opening, Tolentino and Herradura were able to successfully crowdfund over $6,000 to cover start-up costs. The initial staff was made up of six people from the queer and trans Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) communities, with the hope of creating a safe space for queer youth and people of colour.
In a statement posted to Instagram on July 26, the founders disclosed the financial duress they had been under and how their inexperience affected the business.
Intent Coffee co-founders Mavi Tolentino and Reika Herradura. (Intent Coffee/Instagram)
"In early July, we literally had $1,000 in our checking account," they wrote. "We have also made bad financial decisions over the past two weeks out of desperation to keep our doors open and keep our livelihoods…Going into this, we didn't have any business background and definitely didn't have any money. Our lack of experience led us to making mistake after mistake."
Tolentino and Herrandura went on to say they are hopeful their work might spark some change.
"We might have failed in moving towards our vision but we at least failed forward and we certainly did not fail in trying. We hope that we have inspired at least one of you to be the change or create the change you want to see in the world."