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Analog | Past, Present and Future

August 28, 2015

Owners, Russ and Chris Prefontaine.

 

Fratello Coffee is excited to announce the launch of the newest Analog Coffee opening in Southcentre Mall in Fall of 2015. This location will bring what people love about the urban location to the south along with broad food service with fresh ingredients from Corbeaux Bakehouse. This will mark the third Analog location in Calgary and Owner, Russ Prefontaine shares more about the past, present and future Analog Coffee in our interview below.

How long has Fratello been around in Calgary? Describe the journey of the company.

Our family has been roasting coffee in Calgary for 2 generations now, 30 years.   For all those years we’ve worked closely with our wholesale café customers to educate them about what espresso-based beverages are all about and help them to create excellent café experiences. But what better way to show the world our vision for what a world-class café should be than to open one ourselves? Our cafés were created to give Fratello Coffee Roasters a direct voice to those who matters most: the people who drink and enjoy our coffee every day.  We like to think of Analog as our stage; on which we have the opportunity to showcase all of our elite coffees. The intricacies of which are highlighted by careful preparation, using only the worlds best brewing equipment and techniques by professional baristas who share our passion for exceptional coffees with dynamic and unique flavour profiles.  We’ve been teaching wholesale clients and trying to convince them of our idea of what a proper café can be  — now we are able to showcase our products ourselves, controlling every aspect of the finished product from choosing the beans to texturing the perfect milk for a traditional cappuccino.  We have a long history and a fun story, its great to finally share it.  https://fratellocoffee.com/our-story/about-us/

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When did the first Analog open its first location and why did Fratello go in this direction?

The idea of having our own café isn’t new. We’ve been talking about this concept for over 15 years, dating back to when we first purchased the roasting company from our parents in 1997. In March of 2011 we took the first step towards realizing this dream by opening Fratello’s Analog Coffee in the Calgary Farmers’ Market. In late 2012 we opened our flagship location, the stand-alone Analog location at 740-17th Ave SW. We’ve always believed that a coffee house should be much more than just a place to get your caffeine fix and with Analog, we believe we’ve created the perfect spot to retreat and enjoy a meticulously-prepared beverage.

 

These lofty goals has been both the most rewarding and taxing.  To achieve this every single day requires you to be surrounded by like minded people who authentically want those same goals.  You can’t fake it.   For us, our success has come from the team of people that have joined us at our roastery and cafes.  This team is truly behind the idea of delighting our guests.  The biggest challenge at first was finding these people, but now that we are together, together we attract more people who are passionate about what we do, and that is very rewarding.  The success of Analog Coffee is only because of our team.

What is the story behind the 17th Ave location? When did you take it over and what did it used to be?

This has literally been our “dream” location in Calgary ever since we had our offices down the roast on 17th ave and 9th street.  At that time we weren’t doing any roasting, it was still our parents company.  Back then we were called Espuccino Imports and were only focused on importing specialty restaurant equipment, like espresso machines.  Training and service was our specialty.   In those days we would look at the old Buy Right Grocery Store which is now Analog Coffee, and talk about how this location would be ideal for a local coffee shop.  It took over 50 years for the owners of this location to finally retire, but when they did, we were ready to take it over.  We wanted to keep some of the history of that old grocery store alive, so we installed their old outdoor signage inside our store.

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How have you seen 17th ave as a whole evolve since you opened the doors?

At Analog you will experience craftsman-like drink preparation on our Slayer espresso machines, single origin coffee and single estate tea offerings, delicious snacks and food, and a place where you can engage with us and learn more about the coffee we offer and how we make it. We want to show our passion and elevate your drink every day. When people get a coffee at Analog, we want them to have a true experience in every sense of the word. We want them to taste the coffee….we don’t want them to just drink the coffee.  We want to help educate and assist our clients, not preach to them.  We want them to be comfortable and relaxed as soon as they approach us and enter our cafes.  We want to be hosts.    This has always been the goal at both our locations and this hasn’t and won’t change.  What has changed is our food offering.   Food was the most frustrating part of Analog.  Trying to find bakeries that wanted to actually WORK with us, not just give us “off the shelf offerings”.   In order to take control of every aspect of our cafe, we needed to create our own food.  This is when Corbeaux Bakehouse was born, and the concept continued to grow to where it is today.  Now we are not only creating our own sandwiches, but are a full from scratch Bakery and Patisserie.  We see the future of high quality, “3rd wave cafes”, and that future is food.  You can’t just offer exceptional coffee and customer service, you need to have a complete offering.

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Analog is opening its 3rd location in the South of Calgary. How will this be different from its other locations?

At South Centre you will see and experience everything people love at 17th Ave and the Farmers Market.  Exceptional beverages hand made by professional baristas.  What you will also notice is a much broader and complete food offering.  We will even be baking many products fresh each day in store.  All of the foods and products will be produced by Corbeaux Bakehouse specifically for our needs.  It will be a great experience for shoppers who are looking for a break from shopping, a place to sit with friends, a “office” space for meetings and a little taste of down town.  This really will be something different for a shopping mall environment.

What is next for Analog? Will we see more location in the city or even expand across the country?

My brother and I are always dreaming about new business opportunities and concepts, and we will continue to travel abroad seeking inspiration.  Lets just say, we aren’t done yet.