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New airport cafe applies to serve alcohol

Elevate Cafe has opened at YYD and now looking to pour travellers a cold one
New airport cafe applies to serve alcohol at YYD. (Contributed photo)

The Town of Smithers is throwing its support behind the new airport café’s liquor licence application.

The Elevate Café is now open at the Smithers Airport.

Previously, the café had been closed since airlines suspended air traffic in the spring of 2020 and the town wanted to limit financial risk. In an attempt to reopen the café while respecting the airport’s current financial situation, airport administration offered the space with a no cost lease and no service contract fees, however, it took two years to get a proposal.

According to airport manager Rob Blackburn, the operator’s business model was developed with the intention of serving alcohol. As an initial part of the provincial liquor licensing requirements, an applicant must have written confirmation from the owner of the establishment in which they are operating.

Blackburn also said that airport staff supports the café selling alcohol provided all the municipal and provincial licensing requirements can be met by the tenant. Staff believes alcohol sales could support a more robust user experience at the airport.

Additionally, alcohol sales could add another revenue stream to the café operator, which may contribute to a more financially sustainable business. Having the café open and viable makes the airport more welcoming and will have indirect benefits.

Elevate Café needed approval from council that affirms the Town of Smithers’ commitment to allow them as a tenant at the Town owned Smithers Airport to sell alcohol. They got that support from council at the regular May 28 meeting.

Mayor Gladys Atrill said she has heard a lot of positive feedback so far about the café.

“There is a lot of gratitude for having food at the airport,” she said, before asking about also having food and drinks available on the departure side.

Blackburn told council that is in the works.

“Our current operator is working with me, and working with Transportation Canada to open a kiosk on the secure side,” he said. “But to clarify, that side won’t have alcohol, just tea and coffee and snacks.”

READ MORE: Airport café to reopen this spring

Marisca Bakker

About the Author: Marisca Bakker

Marisca was born and raised in Ontario and moved to Smithers almost ten years ago on a one-year contract.
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