Newness

Newness

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Something to think about:

Most moths and butterflies cocoon for only around 5 to 20 days and then they become new. They are technically still themselves after hatching, though. They have the same memories and the same wisdom they gained as caterpillars - they just melt into goo for a bit and then come out looking a little different. 

*:・゚✧*:・゚✧*:・゚✧*:・゚✧*:・゚✧*:・゚✧*:・゚✧*:・゚✧*:・゚✧*:・゚✧

 

December 23rd, 2023 was the last time the world saw Riley Grae Café. We sold our last cups of warm brew on that cloudy (and also oddly warm?) Saturday. We all had conflicting emotions that day. We felt the childlike excitement of Santa coming to town and the heavy grief of losing something that had been a massive part of our lives for the past year.

The café acted as a bridge between communities. There were the regulars who came in just for our coffee, the folks who came in for our trinkets AND our coffee, and the ones who stumbled in by chance who’d end up saying, “I had no idea this was all here! I’ll be back!” Together, we met in the middle of that bridge and built our own special corner of the world. Riley Grae is kind of like an amusement park or a mall or Disneyland but it’s Lauren-Trish-Annie-Carly-Ryan-Emily-Jenna-Devin-Austin-Talia-Land. 

A little word from the Riley Grae Café staff on what they loved most about our café:

ANNIE: “I loved learning about different types of coffee and being able to try all sorts of new things without fear of messing up. Learning in a nice and fun environment was very needed and made it so much more rewarding. It was also nice to have those specific regulars who came in to talk about coffee with us. Having that sort of community in here was very nice.”

CARLY: “I liked getting the chance to see so many new faces in the shop and to get to know people. I also loved learning barista skills in a chill environment because I always wanted to learn.”

RYAN: "I have worked at many coffee shops. Some of them were great and some of them were in not-so-healthy environments. Working at Riley Grae gave me the opportunity to learn more in depth about what I was doing and to learn some management skills, which is pretty freaking awesome. I'm also really thankful I got to work with such a caring and awesome team that is so nice and willing to learn. I also got to learn more about the value in coffee. By that, I mean I got to learn about roasters that value the hard work of farmers and everyone in between. From the farmers to the tasters and from the people who deliver the coffee to the people who buy the coffee - they care about every step of the way. Last but not least, one of my most favourite things about working at Riley Grae Café was all the people who came in, tried our coffee for the first or 20th time (or more), and told me how amazing it tasted. Like, we did that!"

Our late cafe taught us a lot about coffee, community, and hard work. If we are thinking about it like a caterpillar, it’s just soupy enzyme goo right now and it’s getting ready for its next form. That being said, we don’t exactly know what’s going to happen next for us. It IS freeing and refreshing to have a blank canvas at the beginning of the year, so we're excited to see where we end up. That is what the new year is for, after all - to spend another 365 days growing, learning, loving, and creating a life we want to live every day. Lauren said something very true just now, which is that even though January is still mid-winter in Winnipeg, the first month always feels like a fresh start. January 1st marks change, growth, endurance, and newness. 

Sometimes we need to take extra time to think about what we truly need to feel fulfilled, satisfied and content with the complicated (and sometimes very hard) lives we are living. I got a planner and planner stickers from Riley Grae a while back because I kept double-booking and it made me feel bad. It was a small but significant purchase, because now I can look at my whole life on two sheets of paper and I can add cute stickers on special events like my friends’ birthdays and all the hot dates I have. The world moves a bit slower in January, so it’s the perfect month to take that extra time I was talking about. If you’re like me and you want to feel a little more organised, refreshed, and ~new~ in 2024, we have a collection of items on our website for you to browse through. Also, another great thing about that collection is a lot of those items are on sale, too, so it’s perfect if one of your other resolutions is to save money. 

I think if I could only buy three other things from Riley Grae for the rest of the year, I’d first get the 24oz Drink More Water Water Bottle from Ban.do because I don’t drink enough water throughout the day and 2024 is gonna be the year I become a water fiend. I think it would help me drink more because it’s so colourful and hard not to notice. It’ll last me a long while and it’ll be great for the summer when I’m travelling and camping!

My next buy would be the Notepad + Sticky Notes Set from Kikkerland. Lauren just bought one for herself and it’s adorable. There are five cute and colourful sticky notes and two different notepads (one lined, one grid) PLUS a pen! It's perfect for boosting productivity at the shop because we all want to stick sticky notes on everything and write our little to-do lists on the cute notepad. It just makes our chores a little more fun.


I’d spend my last bucks on Rupi Kaur’s Self-Love Writing Prompts. I’ve been following this author since Milk and Honey became a #1 New York Times Bestseller, and she’s been showing up more in our shop since she came out with the sweetest writing prompts (check out her relationship-themed deck!). I like the idea of self-love writing prompts because I want to be kinder to myself this year and every year after this one. 

I think conquering the new year would be a lot easier with these three items. 

♥♥♥

2023 saw the birth and death of our beloved café (always in our hearts), LOTS of markets and our fourth birthday. It also saw Shayna, Chantal and Holly move to bigger spaces so we could welcome Talia and the Clubhouse into our space. We sold mountains of Sonny Angels, showed off and traded our Sonnys at our trading events, filled our store to almost-capacity at the House of Wonders Pop-Up, started the blog, etc. I could go on, but I'll stop there. We could not have made this year even an ounce as special as it was without the help of Suraj, Riva, Mack, Isaac, Ryan, Devin, Austin, Darren, the artist vendors at our markets, the vendors that keep our shop stocked with the cutest products, the pets who came into our shop and made us smile and squeal with happiness, and of course our sweet customers because we wouldn't be here without them (and we wouldn't wanna be). 

I was also welcomed to the RG team in spring of 2023. I worked a few shifts at our last location when I was 18, but I was just extra help at the time and I had never worked retail before. I was SO nervous to use the cash register and to give change back to customers. Now at my ripe age of 22, I use the cash register, give change back, AND write the blog. This is the most rewarding, special job I'll ever have (and I've had a lot of jobs). 

So, here's to 2024! If you made it this far, thank you for reading. Let's hang out again soon.

~ Emily 

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