Lacking a Sense of Community? The Answer is Bloggin’ on the Web

Happy Halloween!

Did you get my poorly constructed Bob Dylan reference?!

Gina here, co-owner of Gigi’s. I thought I’d write a proper introductory post for why this page on our website suddenly exists. I created this blog for a couple of reasons. One of them was personal: To get back into an old favourite pastime of mine, creative writing!

The other was personal but also business related: To further the sense of community we try to create at the cafe on a daily basis.

Community is a thing that can happen by mistake and on purpose. Like, when you see the same people on a regular basis, you’re bound to develop some kind of rapport with them. What that rapport looks like can vary. If you come into the café at a time when I or another barista is feeling overworked, stressed out, maybe even hangry (…that muffin sure is looking good right about now–wait, I’m supposed to save it for paying customers?!), you might have a neutral or even negative experience from us. Stress that impacts the ability to happily work the day away happens to most everyone at points–hopefully it’s not an ongoing thing. But it happens.

But our standard at Gigi’s is to keep our working environment low-stress so we can stop to chat with new and familiar faces. I’d say that’s our natural, not-trying-too-hard means of creating a sense of community. Once a customer has come in a few times, you start to remember their order. Next thing you know, you know their name and what they do and you maybe even have an inside joke or shared memory of something that happened at the shop. These are the things small businesses are made of.

Sometimes, however, having an intention to create community is a big help. Example: As a young woman who is relatively introverted, I can’t always find a way to connect with just anyone that walks into the café. That’s why we make up funny or insightful signs, post silly things on social media, and host musicians and local artists. It’s a way to reach out and try to make everyone feel included.

This photo, “The Ultimate Still Life,” is by Thad Zajdowicz (2016), and used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Halloween is one of those holidays that can accomplish just that: We get to dress in a way we usually wouldn’t and see the reactions of friends and strangers. A costume can be a great conversation starter. Why not share a little bit of yourself that doesn’t always get to come out to play?

This blog is my way of sharing another side of Gigi’s Cafe. Is it our witty, irreverent side? Or the thoughtful, academic side? The side that’s always thinking about food? How many sides do we have, anyways? These answers and more, next week.

If there’s one thing you can take away from this first post (because it’s a little scattered, at this point), it’s that creating community is something that everyone can do, and you don’t have to be a Super Extrovert to do it! Think about what you like to do already and consider how you can use that to connect with others. Whether you’re more tech-y or artistic, or anything else, there’s always something you can do. (Let us know if there’s something we can do to help you make it happen! :D)

That’s all for now, folks!