Francisco Pavez of El Cafecito

With The Network Hub recently expanding onto Vancouver Island with our new Nanaimo office, we’ve had the opportunity to meet and work with a whole new group of startups, entrepreneurs and small business owners. One such individual is Francisco Pavez, owner of El Cafecito, an independent coffeehouse.

Tell us about El Cafecito. The words literally mean “A small coffee.” The expression means “to get together with friends for a conversation.” Notice that it does not require coffee. The ubiquitous corporate coffee shop bears the same resemblance to a European coffeehouse that Pop-Tarts bear to strudel. In other words, the form may be similar, but the substance couldn’t be more different. El Cafecito will be a coffeehouse in the tradition of Central and Southern Europe. We begin our journey with a superior product and with an invitation to share ideas and to question convention.

How did you get started in the coffee business? By accident. After an eight year stint in Mexico, upon my return to Canada, I needed a job. It didn’t matter what it was, I just needed to be employed. Banks, landlords, credit card companies, they are not the keenest on the self-employed. I ended up working at Cafe Ami in the lobby of Vancouver General Hospital and I fell in love with the business of making people smile.

What do you love most about running El Cafecito? Love and hate having my destiny in my hands. It’s like a drug. I have been doing this on and off for at least 15 years, but now I am responsible for more than just myself. I am now married and there is a baby due at the end of July. It doesn’t get more real than this.

What makes a perfect cup of coffee? Coffee can be made perfectly, in the technical sense, and it can be of no use. The perfect cup of coffee is shared over a good conversation, because coffee is an experience, not a beverage.

Why did you decide on markets and events? Purely practical, lowest overhead and highest exposure. The markets and the events are stepping stones to a brick-and-mortar Kaffeehaus. We will maintain our presence during the summers in addition to however many permanent locations we may establish.

Which services are you currently using at The Network Hub? We currently use the front space as pop-up retail and some of the kitchen for storage. We are looking at using the marketing services as we grow.

How has your experience been thus far? Our experience at Network Hub has been very positive. Going forward, we expect to service other users of the space, to influence the coffee consumption habits of our neighbours, and to grow the market to the benefit of all coffee purveyors in the area.

If you could go back in time and tell a younger Francisco something that you know now, what would it be? Don’t worry about the opinions of others. There will always be someone who disapproves no matter what you do or don’t do, so just go and do it.

Where can people learn more about El Cafecito? Where can they find you next? We try to keep the schedule information on pretty accurate. Updates get published to Twitter and Facebook. We also have an Instagram account that we use to showcase products or to share moments that we feel speak to the customer. All three are @elcafecitoca.

Anything else you would like to add? Whilst we strive to maintain a style and a direction, we would be remiss if we ignored the wants and preferences of our customers. Our Twitter and Facebook accounts are open to them to make suggestions and requests. We will consider them all, and will implement those that move the project forward, i.e. we would love to add some morning pastries but there will be no frappuccinos. Ever.