Figaro Coffee House - Chuck

Figaro Coffee House - Chuck

Figaro Coffee


650 Industrial Ave, Ottawa, ON K1G 0Y9

Interview: Nikki Gillingham, Blue Whale Communications

Photography: Marianne Rothbauer, Rothbauer Studio

Tell us a bit about yourself – what made you decide to open a café?

I love all things coffee, wine, sweets, and new experiences! I’m a huge family guy, and my father-in-law introduced me to artisan roasting which elevated that interest in coffee even more. I fell in love with the art and the business of coffee.


Is this your first business or have you always been the entrepreneurial type?

Although I have held many jobs as an accountant within the private and public sector, I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit and have had businesses prior to opening Figaro.  

What was the inspiration behind the name Figaro?

Choosing a name is always difficult.  When deciding what to name our coffee house I had to look at our mission and see if I could come up with something that would lend itself to that.  Figaro’s name is inspired by the opera of the same name.  In the opera they have a barber where everyone would go to not only for hair cuts but rather for a place to gather and share their stories.  The barber would always have his client tell him their life stories which I thought was wonderful. I want Figaro the coffee shop to have that same sense of community.


What’s it been like to break into the local Ottawa coffee scene?

The Ottawa market is is primarily government oriented and  reserved. We knew that going in and knew that it would be challenging, and knew we would need to do something to make this place special. That’s  why we’ve kept it simple. The response since our opening has been wonderful and the support from the Ottawa community has been fantastic. Most importantly, our customers seem to be enjoying the experience. It’s hard for any local shop to compete with the big chains, but thanks to the people who come in to the shop for the first time to give us a shot, and the ones who keep coming back, we’re doing it.


You’re a young business having just opened in March 2018. What have the first few months been like for you?

The challenging part was in how we make our vision come to life and to do it all in time before Christmas, however our dealing with contractors was extremely costly (it was a bit of a rough start) and made our first few months challenging to adjust. The appearance of Figaro coffee house plays an integral part of the is meant to make our customers enjoy the atmosphere and intended to elude a sense of "feel good" when they come in.  A big part has to do with the appearance and the design.

The Trainyards Shopping centre is growing rapidly – what’s it like to be a part of this growing space?

We have always loved the Trainyards area! We have been looking for a place in Trainyards to open Figaro for quite some time and are so happy that we finally got in to our spot! It’s been great to be part of a growing community. 


Why did you choose the Trainyards area?

From a personal perspective, we chose Trainyards because we love that location.  It is what I consider to be a destination location;  people go there to stay a while.  From a business perspective, Trainyards is situated in what I consider to be a prime location. It is Ottawa’s first centrally located retail power centre and office development. It houses over 750,000 feet of retail space, covering over 110 acres of property.  You are about two street lights away from downtown, Rockcliffe, and in close proximity to the Ottawa hospital.  

You have a young family at home – what’s it like balancing a new business and family life?

It is challenging like most things. In order to maintain such a busy lifestyle and ensure I equally balance family and business, I have hired the best staff that Ottawa can find.  I believe that your staff are the most important asset you have and I have hired staff that share Figaro's mission, vision, and values and who put customer service at the forefront of everything.  

What makes Figaro different from the other coffee shops in the city?

The idea was born from the love of coffee, fine wine, and a love of food that stems back to 1996.  Figaro Coffee House has evolved and we pride ourselves in being a leader and the largest premium coffee company that produces and provides specialty coffee and tea services in Ottawa and the surrounding area.

The specialty coffee market has grown to demand better tasting coffee. Coffee drinkers are more educated and discriminating today than they have ever been. With this in mind, our care and the help of our experienced staff, we are able to satisfy the growing consumer demand for 100% Arabica gourmet coffee beans. 

Figaro purchases the finest Arabica coffee beans from around the world and roasts these premium beans daily at its Ottawa roasting facility. Roasting coffee beans is an exact science, and Figaro’s meticulous roasting and testing practices ensure that each batch is roasted to perfection; providing Figaro with a competitive edge. The Figaro roasting process results in premium specialty coffee with a rich aroma and superior quality that caters to any discriminating palate. 

Customer service is the keystone of Figaro’s core business: understanding that no force is more grounding and stabilizing than satisfied customers; aiming to exceed customer expectation, to provide exceptional service and to pay attention to every client's particular needs. Figaro has become an established and trusted name that many consumers and businesses rely on for their daily coffee and tea service needs. 



What vision do you have for the future of Figaro Coffee?

So far our customers have been enjoying Figaro Coffee House tremendously and we have had many inquiries to open up other locations.  The intention is to do just that. Figaro will be expanding to places around Ottawa in the next couple of years.  Each location will embrace and use the current mission as an overarching guide for its daily operations.  

Figaro Coffee House continuously strives to create the greatest coffee experience for its consumers.  Figaro aims to achieve this mission by providing freshly micro-roasted Arabica coffee beans that stem from different origins around the world; by providing a variety of high quality Canadian teas; by providing a delightful and delicious assortment of baked goods and delicious cuisine; by providing an evening fare with our selected wine, beer and coffee paired with alcohol; and to do this for its consumers daily in a beautiful atmosphere where baroque and modern style meet. 

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