Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in coffee roasting but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Edwin Chareton, founder of ZAB Cafe, located in Montreal, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

What once started out as a coffee roasting business, with a clear focus on the human chain behind coffee, from the farmer to the customer, that I operated on my own, has now become a coffee company that owns and operates 5 coffee shops (four Paquebot Café and one ZAB café in Montreal and Gaspé), and servicing and sale of commercial machines division (ZABTECH). Through the years our wholesale program expanded, with amazing partners all across Quebec, and a few outside of the province. We also have a very active online store that allows us to deal directly with customers, where we sell coffee bags and brewing gear and offer next-day delivery in Montreal. This side of the company quickly became essential at the start of the pandemic but that keeps being an integral part of ZAB as things go back to “normal”.

Tell us about yourself

I worked in the restaurant and bar industry for nearly 15 years before switching to the specialty coffee industry, where I was a barista for 5 years. At the time, the coffee industry in Montreal almost exclusively used coffee roasted by companies from elsewhere in Canada, and the USA. I decided to launch ZAB to make sure that if Montrealers went to their local coffee shops, they were able to find the same quality coffee from a local company. Coffee is a true (and almost only) passion of mine and I am truly blessed to make a living from it.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I am really proud of being able to make the work of coffee farmers shine through my own work, all while paying a fair price for it. With many of the coffees we offer, the relationship with the farmer is ongoing and has been for many years. Additionally, as ZAB keeps growing, I am able to take other passionate people along for the ride and have a career with ZAB.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

As the business grows, you constantly have to make sure that you stay true to yourself and to your core values.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

Love what you do, take care of your people and don't count your hours!

Where can people find you and your business?

If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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