Café owners Marc and Kim Dufort pose with kindness ambassador Marrou Lamaniere. A Kinder Cup was created with the vision to promote inclusivity and connection. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Esquimalt cafe cooks up connections for all abilities

A Kinder Cup focuses on positivity, inclusivity and connection

The steaming chai lattés, Americanos and fresh baked goods at new View Royal Cafe are made with a little extra love and a dose of kindness.

A Kinder Cup was born from the mind of Victoria entrepreneur Kim Dufort, who, after more than 15 years working with adults with disabilities and a decade in business, wanted to combine her passions. After coming across a video on Facebook about a business that employed adults with disabilities, she decided to create something similar in Victoria with her business partner and husband, Marc.

“Our mission is to promote kindness,” Dufort said. “Kindness to the community, kindness to ourselves…treating our customers with kindness…kindness to the environment.”

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A Kinder Cup opened in December 2018 in the Admirals Shopping Centre. The quaint café serves up dozens of specialty drinks, sandwiches and baked goods – but best of all, creates a welcoming, inclusive space for employees and customers.

“Coffee shops are the new community centres,” Dufort said, waving to an elderly man who walked in the door. “I was looking for a space where the community could come together [and] get to know people with disabilities as people they would like to connect with.”

A Kinder Cup employees six ‘kindness ambassadors’ – adults with disabilities – and seven kindness mentors, employees who help the ambassadors navigate the job and often, life.

Some of the ambassadors like to work up front, dealing with customers, while others prefer baking or washing dishes in the back. Either way, Dufort says her employees get a lot out of the job.

“They love coming to work. They tell me that all the time,” she said with a laugh. “They get to connect with other human beings in a really positive way. They get to serve, which they really enjoy doing because a lot of times, they have other people providing for them.”

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All of the café’s packaging is compostable and environmentally-friendly, an extension of Dufort’s efforts to create a business that leaves only a positive impact in the community.

“There’s a lot of negativity out there,” said Dufort. “What can I do here in my little corner of Victoria? And I thought, ‘I can promote kindness.’

Sometimes that’s all it takes. One person to start feeding [positivity] and start diminishing some of that negativity.”


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