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Harrassment forced Maple Ridge woman to close her business

The Good Wolf Cafe will be relocating to Hammond
Jerrica Hackett will rebuild the Good Wolf Cafe in Hammond. (Neil Corbett/The News)

A Maple Ridge woman who was forced to move her cafe due to alleged sexual harassment by her former landlords has made a complaint to the BC Human Rights Tribunal.

Jerrica Hackett said one landlord at her former Port Coquitlam location responded to her attempts to negotiate a lease agreement for her business, The Good Wolf Cafe, with harassment.

“The harassment created a hostile and offensive environment for her as a female business owner/tenant. As a result, Ms. Hackett had to close her cafe and find a new location,” says her complaint to the Tribunal.

She has video evidence of his proposition, which happened in October of 2023, which she showed The News.

Hackett made an online video appeal to find more victims. Her social media video is on its way to a million views. In the video, her voice is shaky as she recalls the incident.

“[The landlord] said that if Ms. Hackett helped him, he would help her,” reads the complaint. “He offered to take care of half her rent if she would go for dinner and dancing with him twice a month, and afterward go back to his office with him for drinks, take her clothes off, and show him her body. He said nice legs made him happy and it would make him happy to see her body, touch her legs, and touch her bum. He said it would be a good deal for her because she could save money on rent.”

She decided to leave – the man attends the property daily, and she was anxious about future harassment and unfair dealings as his tenant.

Hackett moved to a new location in Hammond, on Dartford Street, which she is getting ready to house her business, and found a lawyer, Jay Spiro of Spraggs Law, who would take her case against the landlord.

“I am not going to take this lying down,” she said in the online video. “This is unacceptable.”

Hackett said the landlord is not identified in her video, and she did not intend to publicly shame him. Her lawyer advised her there would likely be more victims, given the age of the landlord, and the shameless way he propositioned her.

“I have had someone come forward, with a similar experience, and that was the intent of the video,” she said, adding she also wanted to “raise awareness about some of the discrimination women in business face.”

She said the cafe had a 4.9 rating on Google, and thousands of social media followers.

“I poured my heart and soul into that business. But once those words were said it was ‘I gotta go.’”

She and her lawyer have not yet discussed what would be a proper financial remedy if her complaint is successful, but her business has shut down, and she has to get a new location ready for her cafe.

For Hackett, it’s not about the money.

“I want to stand up for what’s right, and I want to make sure nobody else has to go through this.”

The complaint process could take three years, she said. None of the allegations she has made have been tested.

She wants to be known as an entrepreneur, not as a victim.

If there is a silver lining in her ordeal, it’s that Hackett is excited to be renovating a larger cafe, in a Hammond community that has been welcoming her new business.

“The response was huge – people were excited to have something new in the neighbourhood,” she said.

In an earlier career, Hackett worked in local prisons, and The Good Wolf was the name of a rehabilitation program she offered inmates.

She left the prison system to pursue her own business, and said she was inspired by a Maple Ridge woman who ran Sweet Orange Clothing in the Valleyfair Mall when she was young. Hackett was her only employee.

“She was the best boss, and she inspired me to want to be a small business owner,” she said.

She chose a cafe because she’s a coffee lover, and she can wax poetic about the connections and even romance of a cafe.

“You can watch a couple have a first date, or a mom and son enjoy a hot chocolate.”

She has lots of plans for the cafe, from artists who can exhibit their work, to a “coffee with a con” event.

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Neil Corbett

About the Author: Neil Corbett

I have been a journalist for more than 30 years, the past decade with the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News.
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