A Car in The Cannon

How a local coffee shop is dealing with a pandemic and bad drivers

This past year, small businesses everywhere have been impacted by the pandemic, with many losing customers and some even shutting down. One local Hamilton business, The Cannon coffee shop, was impacted a bit more physically this past Friday, when a car drove through their front window and into the store. Chris Poirier, co-owner of the Cannon, told me the story of what happened. 

“I got a call at a little bit before five in the morning from our baker, she had called me saying that there were some problems going on at the store, there were cops everywhere and the front window was smashed in, so I headed over there, and it was pretty messed up. The car had already hit it and then I guess it backed out and went down the road, but then came back after. The cops managed to get him, he was charged with driving under the influence. In some ways I’m surprised that it hadn’t happened already on that intersection, it’s a pretty precarious corner. We’re already talking with the counselor from ward 3 to see if we can get some posts put in on that corner which would be good.” When I asked about damage, Poirier explained that out of the four front window panels along the front of the store, two of them were completely smashed and the other one was severely bent up. However he emphasized that the damage is actually pretty minimal, considering that a car ended up inside the store, and that there was hardly any damage to the inside. He explained that there is a large bird of paradise plant that sits inside the shop which survived the hit, that the pot was smashed but the plant itself is fine. As well, the bar area with the coffee equipment was untouched, a few retail bags of coffee were lost but overall, things are in pretty good condition, given the circumstances. Poirier also told me about how he had an unexpected run in with the man who had driven the car. “He actually ended up showing up at the shop the next day, so I got to meet him. He was friendly and apologetic. I could tell he felt bad. We were giving coffee away for free that day, so he had come up to the front of the store, I went out and greeted him and asked how his day was going. He was like ‘oh it’s alright, not so great, i got into an accident this morning and I was like, ‘Oh no, where did that happen?’, and he just kind of gestured towards the store and said ‘right here’. I was shocked, I didn’t know what to say, I asked him if he was okay, gave him a free coffee and sent him on his way.” 

There are currently no plans with regard to rebuilding, details are being worked out with the insurance company. However regular service was back up and running the next day following the accident, and business has been fairly steady ever since. Even the day of the collision, when unable to provide normal service due to the circumstances, the store gave out free brewed coffee to customers all day, demonstrating their optimism and enthusiasm for their community. Members of the community reacted by starting a Gofundme to help the store recover from the damage, and it has already raised over $800. Poirier expressed how grateful he was for the support the store has been shown during this time. I asked how Redeemer students or other members of the Hamilton community can support his business right now and he gave a simple answer: “I feel like because of Covid, the best way for anyone to support a business is to show up and show up regularly. Especially small businesses because they’re hurting quite a bit, there are some great government incentives coming through to help, but businesses really do rely on people coming in still.” 

So hit up The Cannon for your next coffee date with your roommate. Head down the mountain and order the yummiest flat white you will ever taste, or their killer london fog if you’re not into coffee, sink your teeth into a perfect waffle breakfast sandwich, say hi to Chris or any of their friendly staff and if you drive there, be careful coming through that corner intersection, it’s been known to be a little tricky.