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Four months ago, things were bleak for the unionized baristas at the Smiling Goat Organic Espresso Bar. A sign on the front door of 5896 Spring Garden Road declared it closed for renovations. Weeks before, the colourful chalkboard welcoming customers read, “Please tip your baristas generously. Tips are our main source of income as our paychecks are bouncing.”

On July 10, the staff café reopened the coffee shop as nine co-owners, under the name Glitter Bean Café, Halifax’s first explicitly, but not exclusively, queer café.

“Many of us have been working there since Just Us,” says Charlie Huntley. The fair-trade coffee roastery operated the café until September 2017, when it sold the business to Smiling Goat proprietor Kit Singh.

“It’s something we’ve joked about for years, wouldn’t it be great to have our own café, a gay café,” says Huntley. “But there were no resources available to us as low-wage workers to make that happen. That’s why it was a joke.”

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