Another exciting visit to one of local businesses in the Hastings-Sunrise Neighbourhood area of Vancouver. We’ve made an appointment to interview Rebecca and Wayne, owners of Laughing Bean Coffee Shop.
Video: Meet Rebecca and Wayne
Filmed and edited by Jennie Yuen
Q – What did you know about the neighbourhood before opening your store here?
- Diversity, multiple demographics
- First telephone was built here
- People used to go to the Hastings Race Track and New Brighton Park
- Hastings Trolley used to be here
- We had local artists create a wall mural here to depict scenes and important characteristics of the neighbourhood, including depicting people from the First Nations community, history of the neighbourhood, fish and salmon, the train, and New Brighton Park
- The owners are named Rebecca and Wayne. LB opened in 2003
- Rebecca speaks Dutch and French. Wayne is French-Canadian.
- They have a therapy dog who often stays at the shop. For a lot of their customers, seeing the dog is the highlight of their day
- They have 2 daughters. One is 25 years old and worked at the shop since she was 13 years old
- LB tries to hire diverse staff. They ask job seekers/candidates if they speak a 2nd language when interviewing them
- The VPD used to come to LB frequently when it was less busy and more quiet
- LB owner Rebecca decorated the shop
- Before LB opened, this space used to have a gas station and a video store. The space was empty when it was purchased by Rebecca and Wayne
- Rebecca and Wayne named the shop Laughing Bean because they wanted the name to “evoke a response… and positive emotion” They want LB to be a place that is fun for customers and staff. They originally wanted to host comedy events at LB but couldn’t obtain a liquor license and so did not end up hosting comedy shows.
Q – How has the neighbourhood changed in the last 13 years since LB opened?
- Real estate has pushed east and made the neighbourhood more expensive
- Rebecca and Wayne said that rebranding the Hastings-Sunrise area as “East Village” is “controversial”. When they think of “East Village” they think of another neighbourhood in New York City. They said that many people still call the area Hastings-Sunrise
Q – Who are you affiliated with in the neighbourhood?
- Try to get all of our products from local places such as JJ Bean
Q – Do members of the Chinese community frequent LB?
- At first, not so much. Over time, we have had a larger Chinese Following
Q – What are your busiest store hours?
- Between 6 am to 2 pm. We also get a small spike in business after school
Q – Why did you decide to open your shop here?
- Thought it was the best location. “Right cost of parking…right side of the road.” It had “everything we wanted in a business”
Q – What do you like about this neighbourhood?
- Easy to access/convenient to reach other places in the city
- Blue collar, regular families – it’s fun, relaxed and not “stuck-up”
- “Least city-like neighbourhood” I’ve experienced
- Diverse neighbourhood
- Rebecca and Wayne said that they want to give really good coffee in a place that is welcoming and comfortable. A place where people come for a “friendly chat… there’s communication.. they’ll meet here”