Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
Posted: 01/18/2014 2:15 PM | Comments: 0
Last Modified: 01/18/2014 4:21 PM | Updates
The Mondragon cafe and bookstore, Winnipeg’s anarchist icon, will close in one week, ending an 18-year run of lefty politics, co-operative management and southern fried tofu.
"We’ve had a rough year, a rough couple of years, financially," said Cora Wiens, one of Mondragon’s remaining workers. "I think a lot of people are really sad about it and are now realizing what this place has meant."
A series of slow changes conspired against the Exchange District institution. Everyday costs increased, foot traffic declined and competition from new restaurants and coffee shops in the area is on the rise. Mondragon’s alternative bookstore, which traditionally bolstered the cafe’s bottom line, also saw shrinking sales, as bookstores across the continent have.
And where once the co-op had a dozen members to share the work, now only five remain. The five have been talking seriously about closing all month, and Jan. 26 will be the business's last day.
This week, all books will be 66 per cent off.
Mondragon was Winnipeg’s best-known non-hierarchical collective, where staff were equal, did all the jobs and no one was the boss.
Asked if the worker-run model contributed to the venue’s demise, staff said no.
"Eighteen years is a long time for a business," said Merrill Grant, one of the five remaining members.
"For any restaurant, no matter how it’s run," added Weins.
Mondragon is key among several businesses and activist groups, such as Natural Cycle and the Boreal Forest Network, that share space in the historic building known as the Albert St. Autonomous Zone Co-op. It’s not clear yet how the restaurant’s closure will affect the co-op’s ability to sustain itself, or who might take over the space.
Mondragon’s remaining members hope to have pop-up events at other venues throughout the year, featuring politics and some of the café’s best-known dishes, such as the southern fried tofu.
Updated on Saturday, January 18, 2014 at 4:21 PM CST: adds new photos
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Feds planning changes to Nutrition North program after it was blasted by auditor general
CentreVenture will have to invite new proposals, will compete against True North
Warming huts from The Forks headed to Winter Design Festival in Ottawa
Speedway International fined after its plant was destroyed by blaze in St. Boniface
New application ready for UNESCO recognition for boreal forest
ISIL praises October slaying of soldier in Ottawa
Mom on trial accused of killing 5-year-old with salt
Fierce snowstorm descends on densely populated Northeast US
Hydro works on different section of Bipole III
Debate over fiscal policy, oil, heats up
Church of England consecrates first female bishop
Mountie had capacity to change world: sister
Are feds about to act on unpaid interns?
Documentary on Death From Above's rise, fall and return to play at Cinematheque
Nutrition labels too hard to digest: study
S&P downgrades Russia credit rating to junk
Canada finds first case of H7N9 bird flu
What Canadian teams must do to make playoffs
True North adding new seating as part of improvement plan
Man going to jail for giving deadly morphine dosage
Watch: Linden MacIntyre speaks about issues at the CBC and his new novel
Spain: 10 dead, 21 hurt in crash of Greek F-16 jet at base
Cineplex to launch new entertainment complex
Winnipegger cashes in $1-M lotto ticket
Vets jobs bill flawed: military ombudsman
Allard wants better whistleblower protection for city staff
Mayes, Browaty: questions remain on convention centre mess
Dalhousie student will take part in hearing
Committee wants legal details of opening up Portage & Main
Winnipeg Cheapskate: All-Inclusive vacation the best deal?
Revised UNESCO bid for boreal forest
Lessons from 9/11 still need learning
Nationwide warrant for Thompson man's arrest
Nutrition North program set for overhaul?
Mix-up of Titanic proportions
Coyotes star had emergency surgery at HSC
Rally being held for Ukrainian pilot being held as POW
New infill condos going up
Rising rent imperils daycares
Shake it off