Shatterbox - Beyond The Cup

by Ryan Moen / Apr 16, 2015 / Comments

The fore sight of Shatterbox coffee to find their place on Pandora street is the progressive thinking that one hopes will define this city. There couldn't be a more engaging business to break open the flood gates and be the straw (or locally roasted bean) that breaks the camels back on a new chapter of the Pandora Neighbourhood. Some may think of it as a bold move from the comfort of their old location on Yates. But the move two blocks North, like much at Shatterbox, came with due deliberation and mindfulness of how the business engages us as a community.

Now it's no easy task running a small business in this town, but the folks over at Shatterbox coffee have been boldly doing it right for sometime now. Even as one of the new kids on the coffee scene, it is the intention put into the design of the business that makes Shatterbox a community success.

While combining Northern Italian roasting and blending traditions with a healthy dose of simpler west coast style, the amazing coffee speaks for itself. Which leaves good time for the familiar faces behind the bar to chat with you.

My first impression was "wow" these cats do a pretty damn good Americano… lets see if they can do it again. I was impressed upon a second happy return that we could pick up a conversation and have another consecutive "wowing". The crew was as consistent as the coffee, and that was my "aha" moment - there is something being served up here outside of the cup. I wasn't the only one lured into this sensation. I would return and find I was having equally great conversations with strangers as I was the staff. What was happening here?

"Hey Kalen (owner, blender, and lead barista) this place seems to be a little social hub..."

Kalen - "Yah, I designed it that way".

"Ahh I see" (more an 'ah' than 'aha' moment).

Turns out the height and positioning of the bar evidently isn't just good luck, it's good planing. Inviting people to watch, converse, and feel at home. A place where "Welcome" is more than a phrase on your doormat. Welcome is contextualized in a coffee shop.

Kalen has taken the principals and ideals of holistic community building from his studies in political sciences. Borrowing the constructs of already existing healthy approaches and bringing theory into action. Where as most communities can be thought as municipalities or larger, Kalen has showcased his ability to recognize that a community can be a few hundred people. Through an ability to keep a open perspective, Kalen has been able to steward Shatterbox's role to connect with his patrons and promote positive growth within the community as a whole.

Karen, cowoner and curator of the cafe's art provides the other half of the genius. Bridging access of local talented artists, to us, the local audience. It's a large facet to creating a business they believe in. While offering a commission free gallery space within the walls of the shop may seem close to philanthropy, it's again their forward thinking of community commerce - an investment in the dreams, beauty, and heart of the community.

Pandora is growing at an exciting pace and is the perfect spot for Shatterbox. The area already boasts the highest resident density in the city, not including the new mixed commercial/residential building projects, enticing more than our Shatterbox friends. Old familiars and new neighbours like Craig Ex Climbing are also making the move to this emerging side of the neighbourhood. Pandora is the street that will showcase our city's new ideas, progressive thinking, and innovation. Heck, it's the home of Victoria's first planned separated bike lane.

Pandora isn't getting it's boost from branding or business association efforts, its spring comes from the entrepreneurship and foresight of home grown talent.

For those that can't envision the future of the city in this way, there is always a Brazilian conglomerate owned Tim Hortons coffee brewed fresh to the rolled up rim with MSG just waiting for you.

For the rest of us Shatterbox is the future we want to see. The locals we can so easily support, and the city we want to live in.

Our voice, our choice, our city.

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The Contributor

Ryan Moen


Ryan Moen is one of Victoria's passionate Community Advocates. With a career in healthcare, he sees that health goes far beyond calories earned and burned. He believes health comes from the balance of all the interactions in our day to day lives. Empowering people to ask questions, helping find answers, and connecting different individuals thorough common causes, Ryan hopes to see his city grow stronger, together as a community.

Recognizing there was a role to be filled for public engagement, he has been involved in some of Victoria's newest community start up projects. Attending Mayoral open door sessions, Council meetings, neighbourhood association monthly's, webinars, seminars… all to stay informed. Provinding you with the power to shape your city.