Penticton’s Dream Café shutting its doors

The Dream Café in Penticton is closing it's door for at least the month of October

Pierre Couture of the Dream Café gets a hug from blues singer Rita Chiarelli at the first Dream Music Festival in 2015.

Pierre Couture of the Dream Café gets a hug from blues singer Rita Chiarelli at the first Dream Music Festival in 2015.

Just a year after Penticton’s Dream Café shifted to co-op ownership, cash flow problems are forcing it to close temporarily.

“After careful consideration and much thought and discussion, The board of directors of the Dream Café Co-op regretfully announces the temporary suspension of operations of the Dream Café, effective midnight October 1, 2016,” reads a letter issued to the membership.

The letter goes on to ask for help from the shareholders with the unexpected cash flow problems.

“If you are willing and have the funds to help The Dream Café get back on its feet it would truly be appreciated. The board feels we will be able to go forward if enough people contribute and stand behind the Dream,” reads the letter from the board.

“Bottom line is that we must replenish the bank account to move forward, which comprises of rent, utilities, staff, food costs, tax payments, etc.”

A special general meeting of the co-op shareholders will be called for October 30th at 1 p.m. at the Dream Café, where a sustainable new operations plan will be presented.

The Dream Café was opened in 2001 by Pierre Couture and Debra Rice, and quickly grew to be recognized as one of Canada’s best venues, and a mecca for not only music lovers, but musicians from around the planet. When health problems forced Pierre to step back from his very active management of the cafe, a co-op was formed in Sept. 2015 to carry on the Dream Café tradition.

Read more: Dream Café plays on by turning to community

“Musicians are always at our door, asking to play in what they say is the best music venue, bar none. We have been told time and again, that the Café is known throughout North America as a wonderful place to perform,” reads the letter.

The co-op board is working on a new, fiscally responsible, sustainable operation and is also seeking input from the shareholders.

“It’s been a good year by most accounts, with one exception. As structured and operated, it costs more to run than the money it takes in. The suspension today is the result of the exhaustion of its cash working capital,” reads the letter. “The directors voted the action to preserve goodwill and focus on essential changes to re-open, as early as November. A new plan must be formulated and new investment raised.

“The board will also seek new directors and especially seek the help and wisdom of its dedicated shareholders and the public at large to come forward to help with the future. A detailed report and financial statements will be sent to the membership by Oct. 4.”

The board also says they have some ideas for fundraising and musicians who are willing to donate their time for a fundraising show or shows. Dream Music Festivals have already been held in May of 2015 and 2016, to support Couture and the transition to co-op management.

Read more: Dream Music Festival takes shape


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