A bakery café recently closed its doors in East York. Not big news, perhaps, but disappointing for some families in the Danforth-Woodbine area. The reason is that Cozy Café was a business of the kind that acknowledges the presence of young families in large numbers in their area, and responds by encouraging their business. The fact that it was not successful in this endeavor is unfortunate, but may be partly due to Toronto’s private sector doing a better job of meeting the demand.
Cozy Café was a nice sort of café, by normal standards. It was aptly named, and served decent coffee and quality baked goods at reasonable prices. They had a few different loaves and trays of pastries on display whenever open, and served much more, including hot meals and birthday cakes, at certain times or by appointment. That is all fine, but what made it a big deal to your humble examiner to discover of a Tuesday morning is something else.
Everything is a big deal when you are pulling a toddler in a wagon through a downpour. When your backup plan in case of a downpour is ruined, it is an especially big deal. Where do you go? The Danforth and Woodbine intersection is close to several cafes, a couple of whom cater enthusiastically to families with young children. The catch here is that Cozy Café would allow strollers, wagons, and bikes to be parked in their front foyer area, capacity permitting. This made it an ideal place to flee to from rain; and a sad blow when it became unavailable. The abacus, the children’s books, and the change table made it a family focused café, yet it did not catch on with parents enough to sustain the business.
While Oaks n’ Acorns, as well as more traditional cafés, led in the area by Celena's and Cake Town, will continue to meet the area’s demand for this kind of place, none exactly replicate the Cozy Café’s model of a large, family oriented bakery café which serves meals as well as snacks. It may be healthy and natural neighbourhood development for one business to close down as a differently-focused competitor opens up down the street, and it is certainly encouraging for East York families that the total number of outing destinations has not really decreased. The Cozy Café will be missed, however; at least by a few of us.