The Maker Bean Cafe: So much more than just coffee
Chris and Lorraine truly exemplify our view of a maker. From the initial spark of The Maker Bean Cafe concept, to the opening of their second location, these partners in life and business strive to create unique, interactive experiences. Whoa! That’s a tall order for a coffee shop! Maybe, but The Maker Bean Cafe is so much more than just coffee.
As the story goes, on a vacation through Asia, Chris and Lorraine decided they wanted to open a cafe once they returned to Toronto – but a cafe with a difference. Lorraine has a creative background, having worked in visual design, while Chris has his M.B.A. and years of management consulting. So together, they began crafting a business idea that would meld their passions. During a stop in Shanghai, they discovered makerspaces and the final ingredient for their cafe: to showcase the DIY nature of the maker movement, the focus on technology, and the community built up around it.
Chris and Lorraine knew they had an idea beyond just another coffee shop, and one that would compliment membership-driven makerspaces. What they envisioned was a welcoming environment where trained staff could make you a latte AND show you how to laser cut your first necklace! A collaborative space where beginners and experts alike could drop in, connect with a growing maker community, AND have a damn fine cup of coffee.
The concept went into action at a few events and fairs – including Maker Festival, where they continue to be the coffee & tea sponsor for volunteers and makers! Then, the Ontario Science Centre invited Chris and Lorraine to set up their first Maker Bean Cafe location, as part of the Inventorium exhibition. Of course, they jumped at the chance, officially opening in June 2017, and are currently there through March 2019 and beyond.
Today, The Maker Bean Cafe concept has expanded significantly, with the opening of their new 1052 Bloor Street West location. This new space allows them to be more of a full-fledged makerspace, incorporating many more tools, including 3D printing, wood working tools, coding, and more. They’ve also launched educational programs, including Summer Camps in partnership with STEAMLabs, in Robotics, Minecraft and video game programming. For more info: steamlabs.ca/summer-camp/
So let your imagination soar by designing and making things with The Maker Bean Cafe! You can find them at the Ontario Science Centre, at their Bloor West shop and a number of events around the city, such as the imagineNATIVE Film Festival, October 17-21, where they’ll have a pop-up makerspace, and the One of a Kind Show, November 27 – December 2, where they’ll be laser-cutting live. They’ve also launched Maker Mondays: every Monday evening 630pm-830pm, they invite people to come learn laser cutting or 3D printing. Full schedule is at themakerbean.com/workshops