By Kelsey Mohammed
On November 15, Etobicoke saw its first snowfall of the season. As the city and country prepare for upcoming months of colder temperatures, slippery sidewalks, and icicles in abundance, Skedline heads to one of the neighbourhood’s most beloved coffee shops to see how business owners and senior customers are coping with the weather change.
“When there’s a big snowfall, the city pushes the snow right up against our door, so we have to dig a hole through the snow and slush. It takes a while to clear because the snow becomes all hard and compacted,” Steven Turner says.
Turner has been the owner of The Big Guy’s Little Coffee Shop for the past 11 years. The cozy restaurant sits on the southeast corner of Lakeshore and Fifth Street and often has regular senior customers dining in to enjoy a handcrafted cup of joe.
Although the street parking directly in front of the shop tends to stay accessible during the winter, customers do have a hard time entering the shop and navigating through frozen chunks of snow that gather around the sidewalks and store entrance.
When asked if the change of weather inhibits his in-store traffic, Turner says, “The rain is worse because people don’t want to get wet. During the snow people still come out but during the rain, they stay inside their homes.”
Another customer chimes in as his drink is handed to him: “I’d rather it be -2 degrees with snow over +2 if it’s going to rain. It’s snow, you won’t get soaked.”
Turner explains that the snow actually makes people feel more candid. “People make plans according to the weather. They like to sit inside the shop when it snows and stare out the window. So the snow actually attracts more customers.”
The indoor seating space can fit 6-7 customers tightly within its walls; this morning light flurries attracted a small crowd of three seniors to the café.
Meanwhile, other customers in the shop began discussing footwear with one another customer. Sue Campbell is a senior who’s lived in Etobicoke her whole life. She gets her morning coffee from Turner’s shop every day and calls out to another customer: “Where did you get those amazing shoes? I’ve never seen a guy with shoes that cool!”
The man she calls out to is wearing red Timberlands. Campbell continues: “I need those to navigate in the snow!”