Coffee. The fuel that energizes. The fuel that many of us, including myself, can not function without. 

There are many options for a cup of coffee in my neighbourhood, but Lori Duncan, owner and operator of Hunter Coffee Shop in Cedarville, brews such a pot you’ll wonder why you ever bothered with other coffee. 

Lori’s attention to detail means she only uses the best tasting beans to brew fresh coffee throughout the day. It also means Lori remembers your name, your coffee order, and continues the conversation you were having the last time you ordered her brew.  

And the pandemic hasn’t stopped Lori. Recognizing the shifting retail landscape, Lori and her team creatively adapted their working space to allow for the safe retrieval of their coffee and baked goods while maintaining social distancing. As a fellow business woman, it warms my heart to see a business thrive during these challenging times. And for this reason, and for so many others, Lori is a clear example of a Woman Who Rocks

Hunter Coffee Shop turns 3 in May, and we are so grateful that Lori and her experterly brewed coffee has made this neighbourhood their home.

Name: Lori Duncan
Occupation: Owner of Hunter Coffee Shop

What is Art?
Art! That’s a big question. For me, art is a specific way of expressing our thoughts and experiences and how we feel about them.

Who are your favourite artists? And why?
Right now one of my favourite artists is dancer/choreographer, Marie Claire Forté. She resides in Montreal. Her work creates a feeling of being together which is very appropriate right now.

Finish this sentence, “creativity is…”
Vulnerability. 

When did you first discover creativity?
I’m not sure if or when I discovered it, but as an adult, I’ve noticed that creativity takes more effort to tap into versus coming naturally, and I’ve discovered that by making that effort, life is much more interesting for me. 

Where do you use creativity in your job?
In listening to my employees and establishing open dialogue with them, I try to make the space for creativity. We talk a lot about the shop and what’s needed, what’s happening day-to-day and what changes can be made to help it grow. I also encourage impromptu singing and dancing which we all do with full commitment! 

How do you think we should be teaching children about creativity?
Well, I don’t have children, but from observation I would say by staying creative as adults, and giving kids space to be themselves.

How have you grown creativity in your business?
By keeping my employees extremely caffeinated! Kidding. By listening to and supporting my employees, as they are full of great ideas and the shop benefits from our collaborative efforts. It’s easy to do because my employees are particularly creative people!

What are one-three books that have greatly influenced your professional life?
I always go back to The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.

How has failure or apparent failure set you up for later success?
It has taught me to be more reflective, which is always important, and failure is a good reminder of that

Do you have a “favourite failure” of yours?
Not getting hired after my first dance audition. I was fresh out of school and broke but booked a plane ticket to Calgary on my credit card anyways. In the end, I didn’t get hired, but taking the risk inspired me to stay in Calgary for a while and work harder to get the job I wanted. Six months later, a dancer in the company got injured and they hired me as her understudy. Then the following season they took me on as a full-time company dancer.


In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?
Calling people rather than texting them. 

If you were not in your current occupation, what would you be doing?
I’d be a professional traveler. I don’t know what I’d be paid for but I’d do it passionately.

What would you tell your first day business self?
Lighten up and get more sleep.

Why did you choose this field?
I really like coffee, people and community. As I transitioned from my dance career, my husband and I were interested in running a local coffee shop together. So that’s what we set up to do, only his career went in another direction, so the shop became my baby. It has been a good challenge for me, and a wonderful way to be a part of our community. Creating a space for people to meet and connect, all while staying caffeinated. 

How have you pivoted your business due to Covid-19?
At first, we went online and switched to deliveries only. That was a learning curve for sure. We used a mapping app that organized our deliveries by address to achieve the fastest route. When we re-opened the shop, we moved some things around to create a safer and more efficient workspace. We now serve at the door using a plexiglass shield and rolling counter so that customers can stay outside. 

How do you feel women are treated in your industry?
I’m not sure if it is specific to my industry or more society in general. As a small business owner, I noticed the difference in the way tradesmen treated me when I was building out the shop, assuming I couldn’t understand something and deferring to my husband if he was around, or being dismissive with me in general. Also, some people have assumed that one of my male presenting employees is the shop owner or feel more comfortable sharing their opinions about what I should do with my business assuming I may not have thought things through. 

Are there any quotes you often live your life by?
“I don’t have time to rush.”

What podcasts are you currently listening to?
I listen to the Audm app quite a bit. It’s people reading articles from newspapers and magazines such as The New Yorker and The New York Times. I’ve also been listening a lot to The Bald and the Beautiful with drag queens Trixie Mattel and Katya Zamo. 

What is a quality you are currently working on to be better at?
Staying present.

Who is the last person you spoke to about your fears?
My husband Ryan. 

What is the last gift you gave someone?
A few weeks ago, I gave my friend Alanna The Lumber Shacket made by Red Sky shop for her birthday.

How would you like to be remembered?
I’d like to be remembered as someone who was kind.

What do you find an admirable quality in other women?
Kindness and valiance.

Name 3 songs on your play list?
1. Lijadu Sisters “Come on Home”
2. Talking Heads “This Must Be The Place”
3. The Blaze “Virile”.

How do you drink your coffee/tea?
Black. 

What is on your nightstand?
Philips sunrise/sunset alarm clock and books. 

If you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be?
A dog.

Famous person dead or alive in history you’d like to have dinner with? 
Michaela Coel, because I’d like to thank her for creating the show I May Destroy You.

How would you solve problems if you were from Mars?
I’d start by encouraging a dance party first. Everyone dancing together before any solutions get discussed.

Finish this sentence “Women are…”
Dope.

We were extremely grateful for the opportunity to have interviewed the wonderful Lori Duncan. I hope you were inspired by this Woman Who Rocks! 

Until then, 

Alessandra

All photographs were taken by photographer: Wade Muir, Nolan Begley + Others.