Javaroma expands to YK Center with federal funding

Javaroma is using $86,000 in federal funding to help open a location at the YK Center Mall, making it the company’s fourth location in the city.

Northern Affairs Secretary Dan Vandal broke the news Monday at Javaroma on Franklin Avenue.

Rami Kassem, the owner of the coffee shops, was delighted that his operation was selected for federal funding.

“Funding from CanNor (Canada’s Northern Economic Development Agency) makes it much easier to take this exciting step of opening our fourth location. Everything is getting expensive here in Yellowknife and across Canada,” Kassem said.

He said he would use the money to buy gadgets like refrigerators and other such gadgets. He also explained that the payback costs of large appliances and espresso machines are significant.

According to Kassem, CanNor’s investment covers about half the cost of opening a new location.

“I’m sure there will be more (spending) after the opening, but CanNor has committed $86,000 and so far we have $86,000 (additional invested).”

The new location is expected to open in January or February 2023 in the basement of the YK Center where the Gourmet Cup used to be. Kassem said it will not be difficult to fill the four new full-time jobs created by the new cafe. When the company cannot find local workers, it has a history of successfully hiring foreigners who want these types of English-speaking jobs.

Vandal explained why Javaroma was chosen to be funded instead of another small business.

“Because they applied for the grants available in Canada. As soon as the (application) has been submitted, it will be checked by the administration and a recommendation will be forwarded to me and my team. (We decide) whether it’s a good project or not. Javaroma applied and was very successful,” said the minister. “We look forward to helping other companies grow, create jobs and boost the economy.”

Kassem said he learned about the CanNor fund from a client and that this is his first application for federal financial assistance.

“I always hear how complicated it is to go through the details of applications, paperwork and everything. Then I said I’d try,” he said.

He expressed his gratitude to the residents and the government.

“I want to thank the Yellowknife community and everyone for their support during and after the pandemic,” he said. “Without government programs like this program, maybe (we wouldn’t) take this step.”

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