I think we're offering something different enough that we can both survive.
—Nils Vik, co-owner, Little Sister Coffee Maker
The tile has been laid, the brick walls have been freshly painted, and the espresso is ready to be pulled at Little Sister Coffee Maker.
Located at 470 River Avenue, it's the area's first independent cafe to open in nearly a decade. And with three major coffee shop chains just metres away, co-owners Nils Vik and sister-in-law Vanessa Stachiw are betting big that there's a market for specialty coffee in Osborne Village.
"It doesn't scare me to see the 'Starbucks siren' looking down on us here," says Vik, "I think we're offering something different enough that we can both survive."
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A bench-lined wall awaits coffee drinkers. (Andrew Friesen/CBC)
Vik has experience building a business. His original location - the exchange district's Parlour Coffee - has thrived since opening in 2011, and has ushered in something of an "espresso resurgence" in Winnipeg.
With independent shops opening in West Broadway, St. Boniface and Corydon, there's no shortage of places in this city to grab a good cup o' joe.
But even Vik admits that he had no idea how Winnipeggers would warm to the idea of meticulously-prepared artisan coffee.
"No one knew that there was a market for this until it was proven," says Vik. "I had no idea how Parlour was going to do - to be honest, I didn't expect it to do very well - but it's proven itself."
But Little Sister Coffee Maker isn't just an easy extension of his first business. Even before opening Parlour, Vik admits that he had his eye on the Village location as a potential coffee shop.
Little Sister Coffee Maker is ready for its first day of business. (Andrew Friesen/CBC)
He and Stachiw completely gutted the space, and have been renovating the former restaurant since early June.
The aesthetic will be familiar to those who have visited any of the city's new cafes, but the sunken storefront offers a cool, semi-subterranean space that will no doubt appeal to the city's coffee and design connoisseurs.
"It'll be nice to actually make coffee and stop painting," laughs Vik.
"[Osborne] is such a lovely, diverse place," he says, "and we're excited to provide an avenue for congregation and enjoying the neighbourhood."
Little Sister opens at 7:00 am on Wednesday, September 11.