Smart Partners

Beamer’s Coffee Bar

A Coffee Shop That Cares About Farmer and Customers’ Experience Alike

It’s one of the most globally-traded products in the world, but how much do you know about the coffee you drink every day? Michael Beamer and Darren Boucher of Beamer’s Coffee Bar in Canmore has made it a point, over the course of almost 30 years in business, to get to know not just the flavour profiles of the beans he serves, but the farmers who cultivated them.

“If I had the money I would travel every time to shake the hands of the farmers,” says Michael. “It’s a relationship, no different than a wheat farmer in Saskatchewan, or fisherman on the East coast, or someone picking fruit in B.C. They want to provide for their family and get paid decently.” That’s why Beamer’s, which proudly serves Farm-Direct and Rainforest Alliance beans, pays above market value for the products they source. Michael knows “if the farmer doesn’t survive, we don’t have coffee.”

Those strong relationships also arm Michael and his staff with a deep understanding of the product they’re passionate about. “This is what we’re able to do—dive into this knowledge of coffee,” he says. And you can taste that commitment in every cup.

Michael, a former beverage manager at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, brought years of experience engaging with the complex flavours and profiles of wine to his coffee business. “Wine and coffee are very similar so it was an easy jump to understand it.” Still, he had to build the business from the ground up, well before knowing more about what’s in your cup was in fashion. “It took one customer at a time.”

The reliability of their function was a really good fit for us. And if there’s an issue, they’re here.

Michael Beamer, Co-founder of Beamer’s Coffee Bar

Along for the journey from day one was Shaw Business, providing Michael and team with SmartWiFi and SmartSecurity. “WiFi is essential to the business,” says Michael, who uses Shaw Business’ SmartWiFi to power the POS in his three shops, scheduling, clocking in and out for employees, and providing a public wireless network for his customers.

One of his locations even offers a private meeting room with a monitor guests can broadcast to for presentations—the only meeting space of its kind in a Canmore cafe. Public wireless access, and spaces that encourage patrons to use it, are a testament to the community feel Beamer’s creates. “We’re lucky to have the tremendous support of the Bow Valley, and all over Alberta,” says Michael. “The Shaw Business team over the years would even come in and have coffee because they knew we were customers. It was a nice full circle.”

Meeting room with pictures of Beamer's coffee cups on the wall
Group fo friends and family smile while holding coffee cups

Opening up their wireless network to the public also came with some concerns for Michael, which is why he uses SmartSecurity. “It allows me to sleep; I don’t feel threatened at all, knowing that we have it,” says Michael. “Knowing the security is there offers me peace of mind.” And with three busy locations, Michael doesn’t have time to be worrying about his systems going down during peak hours, or having security problems. “The reliability of their function was a really good fit for us. And if there’s an issue, they’re here.”

Most importantly, for a community-minded person such as Michael, the energy saved worrying about reliable and secure connection can be spent elsewhere—like learning more and more about the product he loves, and spreading that knowledge around his town.

“Everybody’s dream is to open their own business. I didn’t know if we’d even last the first year. But being able to interact with people every day, and getting to work with coffee every day, is great. Who doesn’t love coffee!”