Stacey Bebbington and April Defalco are co-owners of La Tasse Gamine on Park Avenue, a “kids café” for parents, expectant moms, and families.
“It’s a group of wonderful people that come into our café. They have conversations about everything from diapers to the state of the world and we’re just happy to be there,” says Defalco.
Starting over again
Within months of opening in 2010, the café was flooded due to a construction mishap on the street and had to be shut down for six weeks.
Then in August 2012, the business above the café was a victim of an arson attack, causing damage throughout the building.
Once again, the café was forced to close, this time for eight months.
Now, construction on the street has made it difficult for customers to enter the building, especially those with children in strollers.
“At one point they were actually lifting the strollers over the construction gates because our customers were fighting with the construction people to let them into our place,” says Bebbington.
“It’s meant that we’ve had to start over three times,” says Defalco.
Reaching out to the community
Inspired by a Mile End florist who, after a fire, stayed in business with the help of community donations, Bebbington and Defalco are reaching out to keep their café alive.
“It’s hard to finally come to that point and say that you need help", says Bebbington.
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Bebbington and Defalco have launched an online fundraising campaign, hoping that small donations will help to keep the café afloat until business picks up in the winter, which they say is their busiest season.
Their goal is to raise $15,000 just to pay for rent and say if they don't, they will have no choice to shut down.
“I think our customers love us and I think most of them are willing to hand over a few dollars here and there,” says Bebbington.