Bridgehead posts slight Q1 profit as wholesale, e-commerce sales surge

Tracey and Steve
Aegis Brands CEO Steve Pelton (left) with Bridgehead's Tracey Clark. File photo

Propped up by growing online and wholesale revenues, Ottawa-based coffee chain Bridgehead turned a small profit in the first quarter of 2021 after posting a $560,000 net loss in fiscal 2020.

Aegis Brands, which acquired Bridgehead last year, said Tuesday the local chain “exceeded management expectation” in the first three months of the year en route to posting net income of $17,000.

While same-store sales remained sluggish due to pandemic-related restrictions, falling nearly 30 per cent year-over-year, Bridgehead’s surging e-commerce and wholesale segments are picking up the slack, Aegis said. 

The chain is now selling its beans at selected Costco, Farm Boy and Whole Foods locations as well as at several locally owned Ottawa vendors. Bridgehead’s wholesale revenues so far in 2021 are up 106 per cent compared with a year ago, and the chain says it expects to quadruple its pre-pandemic online sales totals this year.

Expansion opportunities

“We have pivoted to provide additional points of distribution for our brand beyond our Ottawa coffeehouses,” Bridgehead chief operating officer Kate Burnett said in a news release. “These added revenue channels are here to stay and will allow Bridgehead to reach many more coffee lovers across the country.”

Sixteen of the chain’s 20 locations are now open. Bridgehead is launching a new location at Carleton University this fall and “continues to explore expansion opportunities for the brand,” Tuesday’s news release said.

Formerly known as the Second Cup, Aegis sold the iconic Canadian coffee chain to Quebec-based Foodtastic earlier this year while retaining ownership of the Bridgehead brand. The deal officially closed in late April.

“With the sale complete, we are now able to focus on the future of Aegis Brands,” president and CEO Steve Pelton said in a statement. “We look forward to seeking out new strategic growth and development opportunities with entrepreneurs who are poised to take advantage of this pivotal time for the company.”