With a review rating of 4.3 out of 5.0, the cooperatively managed Mondragon Bookstore and Coffee House located in the Exchange District on 91 Albert Street is closing its doors for good on Sunday, January 26th.
After 18 years of business, Mondragon is reportedly forced to close due to decreasing numbers of customers coming into the restaurant along with a large reduction of sales in their alternative bookstore.
Mondragon has been very community-oriented, preparing vegan food daily for patrons of the café, and providing catering services for various clients and special events, using fresh vegetables and grains, as well as local, organic and fair trade items at every opportunity. (Their mouth-watering special-ordered gluten-free carrot cake is to die for.)
Over the years, they have done their best to cater to customers’ needs, being careful to respect any allergies in their patrons. The food in the café has always been tantalizing to those taste buds wanting more. From traditional fare to Salvadorian pupusas, Caribbean roti, East Indian samosas and various desserts, you would always leave knowing you were coming back for more.
While waiting for the food to be prepared, patrons have been able to read alternative /activism related books, or take a look at what was being offered in the grocery section, teeming with local and organic produce. This has been the only grocery store in the Exchange District to this point. There is reportedly some talk of a grocery store opening up in the neighbourhood in the near future.
Mondragon has frequently been a venue for book launches, poetry slams, bands, and artists; offering Winnipeggers a place to speak out on controversial and thought-provoking ideas, during shows and events that were well known far beyond the borders of Winnipeg.
The staff at Mondragon has always been conscientious in terms of fair trade and food politics. Coffee is such a large commodity worldwide, with many workers slaving away in other countries, receiving little money for their back breaking work that provides coffee to the consumers of the world, many oblivious to the economic hardship suffered by those harvesting the beans.
Businesses like Mondragon have consistently offered fair compensation for the work and for the financial costs incurred with the growing of coffee. This has ensured the producer (workers) receive proper payment for their labour. Mondragon has always dealt directly with the producer, thereby eliminating the middle man and allowing the worker to feed their families and use less chemicals harmful to them and their families.
Presently at Mondragon, new and used books are selling at 66 percent off. This week will be the last opportunity to buy a book and help support the ‘save the world’ spirit in which Mondragon has operated for the past two decades.
With just a few days left before their doors close for good, Mondragon is inviting the public to come out and say their last goodbyes as a show of solidarity for this cooperative.
Patronizing Mondragon this week will show them your appreciation for their hard work to create awareness of labour, human and animal rights and the fact they have always used local, organic products as much as possible, doing their best to make this a better and fair world for all.