Kekuli Cafe opened its first location in Merritt, BC, on August 01, 2014, with a vision to create a successful Indigenous-owned business. The café quickly gained popularity, and the team decided to operate their two cafes in Westbank and Merritt as if they were franchises. To test and create systems that could ensure the success of Kekuli Cafe.
In December 2018, Kekuli Cafe sold its successful second business to Elijah Mack-Stirling, an employee with the drive, passion, and heart to own the company. Elijah, a member of the Nuxalk Nation and a long-time resident of Merritt, BC, became the youngest franchise owner of Kekuli Cafe. He had years of experience working in the fast-food industry and graduated from Merritt Secondary School.
Elijah’s success as a young Indigenous entrepreneur is inspiring for the youth in his community, his brothers, and his nation. As an Indigenous-owned business, Kekuli Cafe has become a role model for aspiring Indigenous youth entrepreneurs, demonstrating youth can achieve their ambitions and objectives with hard work, dedication, and a strong sense of purpose.
The town of Merritt significantly supported Elijah’s first year of business. With his vast dreams and goals, Elijah is making a name for himself and his community in the business world. Kekuli Cafe’s success story is a testament to the perseverance and hard work of Indigenous entrepreneurs who strive to thrive and succeed in today’s world.
Kekuli Cafe’s journey from a home-based business to a start-up café to a franchise under Indigenous youth’s ownership inspires all aspiring entrepreneurs. Elijah Mack-Stirling’s success story showcases the power of determination, passion, and community support in achieving one’s goals. Kekuli Cafe has become a symbol of hope and pride for Indigenous people and a testament to the strength of Indigenous-owned businesses in Canada.