Own Your (Refugee Led) Business Story: Hale Coffee

Our “Own Your Story” series continues! Beginning September 1st, Sitti is featuring nine incredible refugee-focused brands through our on-going blog series. (You can find previous articles in this series, including nine amazing Women-Owned Business stories, here!) The “Own Your Story” series elevates the stories of partner brands featured in the Sitti Subscription Box. Each quarter, we get to know the brands in our box, while gleaning priceless lessons and advice from their shared experiences. We talk about where the idea for their brand came from, and what’s made their journey unique. Our second box is all about refugee-led brands, as well as those making a direct impact within the refugee community. To learn more about our Surprise Subscription Box, click here. 

Born out of the dynamism and unstoppable energy of Toronto, Hale Coffee has emerged as an independent coffee roaster dedicated to educating their customers that specialty, quality coffee, has a rightful place in the city. Everyone on Hale’s team shares a genuine belief in the potential for coffee to bring people together and inspire a creative community - one as diverse as coffee itself. The proud, Toronto-based roasters gave us a taste of what their commitment is to the refugee community in Canada and how they are supporting the self-reliance of their newest neighbours through coffee. 

How did Hale begin?

Hale Coffee Company started similar to the tree that grows the coffee plant- with a small seed that was planted by some friends. Leaving the comfortable corporate world with this small seed was the hardest part but now we can proudly call ourselves one of Toronto’s finest roasters and coffee hubs.

As coffee fanatics we always strived to spread our love and passion for amazing coffee with amazing people. Inspired by the love and work put into coffee by the farmers we met throughout the years, we created Hale to provide an approachable and inclusive avenue to specialty coffee. We want Hale to inspire everyone to adopt specialty coffee in their daily lives without the exclusivity or pretentiousness associated with the industry. Spreading education and passion in an approachable manner.

How does the refugee community in Toronto play into your story?

Our story started 5 years ago when we collaborated with a group of university professors sponsoring Syrian refugees. We worked with them on finding a position for refugees at Hale that helps them grow their professional development and integrates them into society while improving their English language skills. The language barrier was particularly challenging at the beginning but drastically improved as they interacted with employees and customers on a daily basis.

Is there someone from your team who found success through Hale’s training program?

Ahmad started a kitchen position at Hale and moved to different positions around the company, from packaging to deliveries and finally to café construction and maintenance, where he found his passion and jump started his career in construction. While working at Hale, Ahmad finished a course in residential construction and renovations. Armed with a certificate and experience from Hale, Ahmad now runs his own company in home renovations specializing in drywall installation and plastering.

What is it that customers love about Hale Coffee?

All of our coffee beans are carefully sourced from direct trade relationships with passionate coffee farmers from around the world. Participating in direct trade with regional farmers also ensures that the farmers doing the work are being paid fair prices for their awesome coffee and hard work. 

We also strive to be available to all coffee lovers at all times, whether it's through our cafes, our partners that serve Hale coffee at their business' or through our online market where we can ship you freshly roasted coffee anywhere in Canada!

What’s next for you and your team?

We are excited for our continued growth throughout this challenging year. We are proud that our team stayed strong and positive and that we are now expanding our retail to include two new locations in Toronto- one located in the Art Shoppe Midtown and one on Church and Bloor.

 What is the best advice you have for someone who is trying to start their own business? 

The first step is the hardest but as long as you keep walking you will eventually reach your destination.


Thank you, Hale Coffee, for sharing your story! 


**DON’T LEAVE WITHOUT YOUR DISCOUNT!** Check out halecoffee.com and make your own purchase with discount code “SITTILOVE”  at checkout for 10% off!


To show your support for Hale Coffee, follow them on Instagram or halecoffee.com

The Sitti Box is a quarterly box packed with value and impact, delivered directly to your door. Each quarterly box highlights the stories and impact of the products inside.



The Refugee-Led Box

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