Even With a Massive Head Start, the Canadian “Anti-Capitalist” Coffee Shop Learned That Capitalism Works

ANTON URICH / shutterstock.com
ANTON URICH / shutterstock.com

It’s been roughly a year since “The Anarchist” coffee shop opened in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. A one-stop shop for all things caffeinated and anti-capitalism, the self-proclaimed woke owner was tired of the capitalist white males that had invaded coffee. Despite being a white male himself, Gabriel Sims-Fewer believes he could use his “privilege” to help others.

Unfortunately, in the cold winter months, his customers became just like his last name; Fewer. No matter how much he tried to get people to shun capitalism to stop for his coffee they wouldn’t, because Toronto is unreasonably cold. Even with a great start of no and then reduced rent, he couldn’t make a go of things.

In a closing letter posted to his webpage, he outlined his beliefs and failure.

“It’s been an amazing experience, connecting with so many great community members, sparking desperately needed debate, raising the blood pressure of Conservatives (that includes you, “anarcho-capitalists” and “Libertarians”), fulfilling the dream of most service workers by not having to tolerate the presence of professional class-traitors (pigs and military), and experimenting with living and working in ways that don’t enthusiastically embrace the pure misanthropy of Capitalism. Unfortunately, the lack of generational wealth/seed capital from ethically bankrupt sources left me unable to weather the quiet winter season, or to grow in the ways needed to be sustainable longer-term.”

Looking more into the webpage and Instagram account, it is clear that Fewer thought leaving Vancouver to head to Toronto would provide him with a clearer and more unique experience. He could push his socialist cause, and do the only thing he knows. In his mind, the people of Toronto would be more open-minded, accepting, and willing to help his dreams while overpaying for coffee that he was getting at a massive discount. It was to be perfect.

Working with his supplier, Pop Coffee Works, he was able to negotiate a deal for six months of their pre-existing café, and heavily discounted rent following that. They even gave him a $3k line of credit that, in combination with credit card debt (how capitalist), he was able to achieve his nearsighted vision.

“I picked prices that were the lowest I could afford, and that wouldn’t have to be increased as soon as rent kicks in after the 6 month grace period. I hate how everything in specialty coffee is so inaccessible to working-class people and inhospitable to everyone but the white upper middle class. That’s why I started doing “pay what you can” drip coffee, which loses me money, but is subsidized by the more expensive drinks.”

He explained how people in high-end business clothing would only pay $1 for the drip coffee (and even claim they would go out of their way for it), while the homeless would allegedly offer up $10. In his mind, this never added up, even with the help of his landlords, and ultimately was the downfall as he wouldn’t take on the investors he so hated.

It’s interesting to see someone reject Capitalism so hard that it causes a business that was essentially handed over to him like generational wealth to fail. Running a coffee shop is a relatively straightforward process. It takes some business acumen, but for what he was doing, it should have been so easy a child could do it.

Perhaps it was the decision to only go after coffee that could claim it was “ethically sourced” or to bring in roasters who cared about that more than the quality of the coffee itself. It could be the specialty drinks that cost almost as much as Starbucks, or his inability to get books besides paying retail for them and then trying to make a profit from Capitalism at his shop.

This concept is a failure for so many reasons. While Fewer gave his best efforts, Capitalism is inescapable in modern society. Unless everyone changes over to a different system, the way we have things now is the way things will stay. It might not be “fair” to the liberals, but neither is their oppressive agenda.