One of our area’s longest standing and most beloved cafes, The Laughing Bean Coffee Company, has been a fixture in the ‘hood for over a decade. Opened in 2003 by Wayne and Rebecca, the family run business is considered a caffeinated hub of activity for locals and commuters alike. “I love the diversity of the area,” says Wayne, co-owner of The Laughing Bean. “We get moms, dads, dog walkers, downtown business people, kids after school… just a wide range of different people who come in to get their coffee.” Wayne says that because theirs is a shop out of the way from most, the vibe is like a small town in the big city. “This neighbourhood has a community feel to it,” he says with a smile. That community feel definitely carries over to the staff at The Laughing Bean. There are currently 11 employees working at the cafe, with their longest employed for 9 years now. “We like to be mentors for our staff and train them in coffee and future positions they may have,” Wayne says. “We try to make their experience as worthwhile as possible.” Besides all the wonderful people he meets during his days at the cafe, Wayne says it’s his love of coffee that fuels his passion. “I love that I get to taste different coffees from around the globe,” he tells us. “I love that I also get to travel around to try the coffees we sell, and to see how it is made, packaged, and the people who harvest and produce it.” Of all his coffee expeditions, Wayne says Brazil has made the biggest impression on him. “I really liked how well the farm was run. Everything from the planting, manufacturing; how the staff are managed and treated well.” With their twelfth anniversary just around the corner, we ask Wayne if he has a stand-out memory from his time at The Laughing Bean. “We had a fundraiser for the tsunami in Thailand in 2004,” he tells us. “We had the idea to just have a day where everything we sold for the day, all of our sales just went to victims of the tsunami. It was a really small fundraiser, we didn’t do any advertising for it. We just put up a small hand written poster in our shop.” “One customer came in and happen to work for a TV station, and decided to do a segment on our fundraiser and it then turned into being on the new station for almost the whole show,” Wayne continues. “The mayor came in, and we raised almost $19,000. People also came in and dropped off prizes that could be auctioned off, again with all proceeds going to the tsunami. The quarterback for the BC lions at the time donated a signed helmet. It was so exciting to just see how the whole event just came from a small handwritten poster. It’s great to look back on and see how the community just came out and really stepped up to help.” The cafe will be holding another fundraiser on May 15th, this time in support of aid efforts in Nepal. The Laughing Bean will match any donations collected on that day and will donate it to the Red Cross, with the Canadian Government matching the donation. The Laughing Bean Coffe Co. is located at 2695 E. Hastings Street, and are open daily from 7:00am. Visit their website for more information, and get social on Facebook.