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Halifax cafe declares itself 'Penny Free Zone'
Sat Aug 30, 5:53 PM Lyndsie Bourgon, The Canadian Press
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HALIFAX - A cafe in Halifax has taken a Canada-wide proposal into its own hands and declared itself a "Penny Free Zone." Enlarge Photo (The Canadian Press) By Lyndsie Bourgon, The Canadian Press HALIFAX - A cafe in Halifax has taken a Canada-wide proposal into its own hands and declared itself a "Penny Free Zone." "It became clear to us that the amount of time we spent taking care of pennies wasn't valuable in the long run," said Ned Zimmerman, a supervisor at Nova Scotia's homegrown Just Us! Coffee Roaster Co-op, whose branch doesn't hand over pennies at the cash. The cafe's policy comes after a bill suggesting abolishing the penny was introduced in Parliament in April - sparking debate about the copper coin across the country. "People have responded really well to it," said Zimmerman. "They think it's a really good idea, especially since Parliament has been discussing getting rid of the penny...it's something the country is kind of moving towards." Just Us! works with businesses around the world to bring organic coffee, chocolate, sugar and tea to Nova Scotia. Only one Just Us! cafe on Halifax's busy Spring Garden Rd., has gone penny-free. "It's something the cafe management thought was really great, so we're trying it out," said Zimmerman. "If it continues to go well, you'll probably see (this) in our other cafes too." The cafe uses a rounding system for customers paying with cash. Each purchase is rounded to the nearest five cents - so a coffee that comes to $1.32 would have the customer pay $1.30, while a muffin that costs $1.73 would see the customer shell out the extra two cents. Debit and credit card purchases aren't rounded.

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10/24/08 2:04 PM

Halifax cafe declares itself 'Penny Free Zone' - Yahoo! Canada ...

http://ca.news.finance.yahoo.com/s/30082008/2/biz-finance-hali...

"At the end of the day, our cash is rarely off by very much," Zimmerman said. Zimmerman said he's heard concerns that many businesses will round up their prices to profit from the extra few cents. "That's a valid concern," he said. "But I think at the same time, the amount of time it's going to save everyone would be outstanding." NDP MP Pat Martin, who introduced the penny-banishing bill, said the coffee shop is the first store he's heard of that has done away with the coin. "I think we've triggered an irreversible shift towards abolishing the penny," said Martin of his campaign. "But I don't blame the local retailer for losing patience and unilaterally taking action." Since Martin introduced Bill C-531, it has moved on to the Standing Committee on Finance. But a spokesman said the committee probably won't be dealing with the issue before Christmas. "I don't expect to deal with that in the near future," said Jean-Francois Page. In April, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said getting rid of the penny wasn't a priority. A study by Quebec finance company Desjardins Group in 2007 said the penny has little purchasing power and suggested the federal government consider removing it from circulation. Desjardins said keeping the penny in circulation costs about $130 million annually. Jean-Pierre Aubrey, an economic consultant in the study, said Desjardins estimates it costs about a cent-and-a-half to produce one penny - from the production stages, to materials and delivery. With the Royal Canadian Mint pumping out about 760 million a year, Aubrey said pennies are a money pit. "The reason there are so many is because the penny is not used," Aubrey said. "Consumers put them in buckets in their houses." In a fall 2007 study, the Mint said a majority of small retailers were in favour of abandoning the penny, while consumers were split. On their website, they state getting rid of the penny is the government's choice. Aubrey said he sees the obstacles standing in the way of abolishing the penny as political. "There are still some people here and there that want to keep the penny as a symbol of heritage and the past. The government doesn't want to put these people against them," Aubrey said. Amid threats of a fall election, Martin said going to the polls would mean starting over for his penny campaign. "All the progress we've made other than public opinion would be lost if an election takes place," Martin said. "But, it gives us an opportunity to make it an election issue." Martin thinks the government should stop production of the penny at the end of 2008-the coin's 100th anniversary. "I suggest we hold a birthday party and a funeral simultaneously and not

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10/24/08 2:04 PM

Halifax cafe declares itself 'Penny Free Zone' - Yahoo! Canada ...

http://ca.news.finance.yahoo.com/s/30082008/2/biz-finance-hali...

issue any 2009 pennies," Martin said. "Making cents just doesn't make sense anymore," he said.
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Halifax cafe declares itself 'Penny Free Zone' - Yahoo! Canada ...

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