As you enter Gravity Espresso & Wine Bar, your senses are immediately ignited. An aromatic burst of fruit and caramel flavors from a fresh brew of Phil & Sebastian coffee flood your nostrils; the savoury tang of cheese and the soft warmth of fresh baking dance merrily in a fragrant bouquet. The calming, blue walls of the café are covered with original artwork. The bar and seating is adorned with hardwood; creating a cozy, elegant aura. You approach the register and are greeted by a friendly barista. At once you are cuddled by the warm, inviting ambiance of Gravity – you are home.
Andy Fennell founded Gravity in 2010 with his wife and started operating in 2012. Having worked for WestJet and Royal Caribbean for 20 years, Fennell grew tired of the daily grind and monotony of his workplace. He combined his passions for food, drink and company into a small family business – Gravity was conceived.
“I worked for WestJet and Royal Caribbean for 20 years before opening Gravity and was bored of the mundane repetitiveness of my office job,” said owner and founder of Gravity, Andy Fennell. “I was excited to open something that allowed me to interact with people and even better, be my own boss! The name Gravity is a reference to our passion for rock climbing.”
An English expat himself, Fennell’s mission is to make gravity the first choice for a European style café in Calgary. Gravity combines all the amenities of a public house with the serenity of a classic café. It is your home away from home – a shop in Inglewood where patrons can get lost in the day with a cup of coffee, comfort food and a glass of wine (or two). They also support local artists and offer entertainment as a live music venue.
“We value our employees and guests equally. We want to be seen as a business that is as interested in people as we are. That’s our bottom line,” said Fennell.
Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gravity has not been able to offer live music for several months. While Fennell misses the strums of guitars and soothing voices, he is confident that music will return in the future.
“I would love to add some music to help us through these times, but not at the expense of our guests and staff,” said Fennell. “I welcome the day when live music may safely return to our venue.”
Fennell cherishes the closeness of the business community in Inglewood. He loves chatting with fellow business owners about their stores. Some of his favourite shops in the community are Espy, Limitless, Bite – Grocer & Eatery and Ol’ Beautiful Brewing. Fennell is keen on supporting his neighbours and keeps the coolers at Gravity stocked with fresh beer and cider from Ol’ Beautiful. He admires the product they create and describes the owners (Chris, Devon, Zoei) as “genuinely nice people and very personable.”
In the evenings, Fennell likes to pair a nice red wine with a charcuterie board. His favourite is a Grenache/Syrah blend called Longue Dog. When he is not busy running his business, Fennell loves spending time with his family. Fennell states his favourite way to enjoy a cup of coffee is “In my backyard, on my deck, on a warm summer morning listening to The David Gray album “Gold in a Brass Age” with my wife and kids.
Although COVID-19 has presented a challenge for many small businesses, Fennell remains optimistic. He finds the social interaction of a café to be incredibly rewarding. The hustle it takes to keep your head above water these days is both challenging and gratifying for him.
Fennel and the team at Gravity have made an effort to support local charities over the years. His most recent charitable endeavour is a fundraiser for the YMCA. To raise awareness, he has not cut his hair or beard since April and has raised close to $5,000.
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