Vender of the Week: Fools & Horses


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We recently caught up with James Johnston who is one of the five managing partners of Fools & Horses, a unique cafe and community space located in Downtown Winnipeg.

Who: Fools & Horses

What: Food, drink, and specialty retail

Where: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Tell us a little about what you’re all about and what inspired you to get started.

Each of our five managing partners had their own inspiration behind starting Fools & Horses. They have their own personal passions ranging from locally sourced food, to craft coffee, to special hospitality experiences. For me, it was that I worked in the neighbourhood and was missing that laid-back spot you could go to and just unwind for an hour during your day.

Fools & Horses always gets reviews about being a happy space, and that’s because our team makes it so welcoming. We’re also really passionate about products that reduce waste and help preserve the environment. 85% of our waste is being composted, and the other 10% is being recycled. In fact, we installed Manitoba’s first wine-on-tap system to reduce carbon emissions.

What’s your local community like?

Fools & Horses is sincerely focused on bringing people together. There is a lot of buzz around people wanting to get to know their neighbours again. We’re not creating that notion, we’re simply harnessing it. Some of the events we’ve hosted recently are focused on community conversations ranging from social services to politics, as well as giving Fools & Horses a life within the arts through events such as photography festivals and book launches. These are held without any exploitation; we’ve simply given groups a space of their own so they can do what they want with it, and bring people together.

What made you choose Vend as your POS solution?

We did a lot of research, and were particularly interested in a system that would make things work well together. Vend really stood out to us as it could integrate with Xero, and would allow us to expand into a loyalty program like Collect.

And, of course, we wanted something that was super easy to use and set up. Heck, If I could set it up, then it must be easy to use! We caught on from day one. It’s also functional – with a range of practical integrations, it helps us to grow as we need to.

What advice would you give a new retailer trying to grow business in their local community?

Focus on what you love and what you’re good at, because then you’ll sincerely want to share the outcomes. Shoppers don’t have to be run-of-the-mill customers, you can think of them as your neighbours. This generation can smell when something is disingenuous, so be sincere about your business and what it stands for. Relate to folks that are also passionate about the things you’re doing.


About Natasha Glatz

As Program Experience Manager, Natasha connects with Vend’s retail community through unforgettable experiences, training, and development. She has a history in event management and retail operations, and a real soft spot for working with local business and charitable organizations. Natasha also has a love for live music, the ocean, and campfires (particularly where s’mores are present).