The Sleepless Goat to close

Downtown Kingston staple announces Wednesday that they're no longer in business

The Sleepless Goat was established in 1993 by a small group of Queen's medical students.
Journal File Photo

The Sleepless Goat, an iconic downtown Kingston cafe, has announced that it's shutting down after 23 years of operations.

The cafe announced its closure on its Facebook page on Wednesday, stating that they made the announcement with the “heaviest of hearts”.

“Together we’ve heard great musicians, enjoyed beautiful artwork, tasty, healthy food and a place where minds and hearts could meet. Despite our valiant efforts and managing to stay open through many difficult times, it appears we’ve come to an end,” the statement read.

“Know that we did our very best, and that this is a deep and profound loss for us, just like we know it will be for you. Thank you for your love and support over the years. Getting to know you and serve you has been an honour.”

The Goat, known for its fair-trade beverages and vegetarian-friendly meals, was a co-operative business and popular study space for Queen’s students. The co-operative also provided a venue for local arts events.

Christina Avery, a member of the cafe’s co-operative, told The Journal via Facebook Messenger that although she'd only been working at the Goat for a year, she's been a customer for five years.

“The Goat was somewhere to be myself, somewhere to meet likeminded people and a safe wonderful place to be,” Avery said.

The Sleepless Goat has been struggling to remain open for a number of years due to high costs of rent and building maintenance.  The past few months provided insurmountable financial obstacles due to low foot traffic on Princess St.

Avery said the closure had been in the works for a number of years, but recently the operating expenses became too high for the cafe to remain open. Members of the co-operative say this was due to recent poor weather along with the Big Dig project, which closed down sections of Princess St. to vehicles and reduced pedestrian traffic.

Additional costs to the Goat included the cost of renewing liquor license, additional building maintenance and fines for illegal downloads of copyrighted content by customers using their Wi-Fi. When asked about the possibility of a potential buyer for the Sleepless Goat, Avery said the business is most likely not for sale.

The Sleepless Goat stated on their Facebook page that they’ll have access to the commercial space until Sunday, March 13. The cafe is holding a farewell party on Friday for their customers.

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