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Telling Our Stories: SUCCEED

Moyna Matheson, owner of Samuel’s Coffee House

What does the typical day in the life of a coffee shop owner look like?

If you are Moyna Matheson, owner of Samuel’s Coffee House in Summerside, there is no such a thing as a “typical” day. But whatever does happen usually starts around 5:30 a.m. and doesn’t stop until the last cup of coffee has been poured for the day!

When she decided to go into business for herself, it was very important that she create something for the community where she lived. “Downtown is the core and heartbeat of any community. I wanted to be a part of that and create something that the community could be proud of and feel like they’re a part of,” she shares.

 Samuel’s Coffee House first opened its doors in 2011 and has quickly grown from serving drinks and pastries to soups, sandwiches, salads and catering. Moyna, who had no prior food service experience, recently expanded Samuel’s Coffee House, opening a second location in Cavendish in summer 2015 at Avonlea Village.

 The road to opening any business isn’t always a smooth one, and Moyna is quick to point out the importance of being able to embrace the bumps in the road. “Making mistakes is okay. Not having the answer is okay,” she says. “Every time you rise up from something challenging or complicated, you’re ready for the next thing.”

 And there were no shortage of challenges in the process of opening Samuel’s Coffee House. Moyna spent over a year doing research. During that time, she met with 20 different coffee shop owners in the region and in Calgary, constantly keeping notes on what she liked and didn’t like about each of the spaces that she visited. She attended workshops and seminars and had countless meetings with banks and business development officers.

 It may surprise you to hear that it is often incredibly difficult for women to secure financing for business ventures and, being over 40, Moyna had even more challenges than someone younger might have experienced. Thankfully, for the coffee lovers in Summerside, none of these things deterred her from her dream.

 Moyna is a big believer in surrounding yourself in an environment that you love and with people that make you better. She has worked tirelessly over the past four years to ensure she has built a strong team who do just that: “It’s pretty great to get to make someone’s day before it’s even started.”

“Through asking the right questions and meeting the right people, you really can achieve and get to the destination you want. The answers are out there and there are people out there who do know how to do things, it’s about you finding those people and making that connection.”