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Babes in the Woods Eatery Receives Support from the Galiano Community Loan Fund

Meet CCEC member, Galiano’s Chef Lisa who opened her Babes in the Woods Eatery in 2014.  She secured a $10,000 guaranteed loan from CCEC member, Galiano Community Loan Fund (GCLF), which allowed her to open the restaurant and buy the equipment. 

Lisa heard about the Galiano Community Loan Fund a few years ago when “They helped Ginga buy DJ equipment so he could pursue his career professionally and I thought that was really cool.”  When she was opening her restaurant, with very little money, her plan was to get a case of tomatoes, turn it into something and sell it, then buy two cases of tomatoes, and so on….she remembered the story of Ginga.  She visited the Fund’s website, found the loan application online, applied and was approved for a guaranteed loan of $10,000.  With this support, she was able to open the restaurant and buy the equipment she needed to grow her business into what it is today.

Lisa has always wanted to open her own restaurant.  After years of working for others, she really wanted to create a place that cares about its’ employees as they are the foundation for any business.  Before she opened Babes in the Woods Eatery, she was working as the lead cook at the Woodstone Residence, a treatment center for young people with eating disorders.  When the center and her job was moving to Vancouver, she decided to stay on Galiano.  She says, “I decided I am going to do what I really want to do.  After 3 years of watching these brave young women battle this life threatening illness and winning, I took a page from their book and stepped into my future world.”

Living and working on Galiano has its’ challenges and that is one of the reasons the Galiano Community Loan Fund was started by a group of local residents.  Lisa says that she is most grateful to receive the loan as, “The fund has provided me with more than just financial assistance.  They did their due diligence in regards to my business plan, acting as mentors to me.  Their sound advice and feedback are tools that are crucial to me.”   She does face challenges that are common on the Island with the main concern being staffing.  She is asking, “How do I keep them year round?  How do they make a living?  How do I make a living?  Do they have the skill set to do the job?”  She says flexibility is very important and some decisions may not make the best business sense.  But, on Galiano where human resources are scarce, you need to adapt to the available resources.

Lisa is working hard to make Babes in the Woods a thriving little business.  She says there is a plan to move the restaurant to a property owned by the business!  While knowing that it is not going to be a straightforward or an easy process, she feels this move is working to ensure the future of her little business.  She looks forward to the next phase of her business as she says that she’s learned that challenges can often make us stronger. 

Contact:  lisagauvreau@gmail.com

http://galianoisland.com/babes-woods-restaurant

 

What is the Galiano Community Loan Fund?

(information from their website)

The Fund was created by Galiano Islanders who have come together as lenders to the Fund to support borrowers in the community who:

  •  • want to start or expand a business on the island
  •  • need access to affordable housing on the island
  •  • want to develop marketable skills to use on Galiano
  •  • have a worthwhile project that will benefit the community

 How does the Galiano Community Loan Fund work?

The Galiano Community Loan Fund operates in partnership with CCEC Credit Union.

The Fund receives loan proceeds from supporters who have lent money to the Fund and these loan proceeds are deposited at CCEC.  In turn, CCEC administers loans made to borrowers that are guaranteed by the Fund.

The pooled loan proceeds at CCEC earn interest and the earned interest is distributed to the supporters who have lent money to the Fund as a return on their loans.  Some supporters choose to forego receiving a return on their loans to the Fund.

Visit their website for more information if you want to be a Lender or a Borrower.  

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Cafe Rooster Logo

A café that is the heart of the community is a hidden gem, for now!  Three long time CCEC Members who have lived in the Commercial Street neighbourhood for years, partnered with another friend to open café.   Meet  Chris Richmond, Pete Tuepah, Nadene Rehnby and Margot Skelhorn.

“CCEC made it possible.   
CCEC is more than just a bank.” 

Offering Matchstick locally roasted coffee, you can now stay in the hood and don’t need to go to The Drive.  Serving up fresh baked muffins daily, vegan and light fare (not a diner), they source local and organic ingredients as much as possible.   

The Commercial Street Cafe opened in November 2012 in the heritage building Gow Block. Some people may remember when it used to be Ernie’s Grocery and more recently a store/café. When the space was up for sale, the four friends knew they wanted a great café in the neighbourhood and worked through the steps to make it a reality. While opening a café was not on their bucket list, according to Nadene, they were pleasantly surprised when their bid for the cafe went through and CCEC approved the business loan.

They renovated in nine days to create an open concept space that spans two rooms.  They have Pete as head chef in the kitchen, Chris running the day-to-day as the general manager and Nadene busing tables in between her job as a graphic designer.  Margot as coffee manager setup the coffee bar and is now on sabbatical back home in Nova Scotia.  Tracy Thorn of the Cake Conspiracy, whose cake-decorating business needed more space,  uses their kitchen in exchange for baking.  It is a great partnership where the food and atmosphere is wonderful.

Commercial Street Café is truly a neighbourhood coffee shop.  When I visited on a mid-week morning, there was a steady stream of moms and dads with young kids stopping in for a coffee and baked treat.  The owners can walk to work and feel that as they are community based, they have more at stake in running a successful cafe.  They haven’t done much advertising and are focused on the day to day operations.  They are learning a lot and have plans to grow their business and neighbourhood connections in the years ahead.

“The credit union has been with me through all stages in my life, from my first home, to services related to my graphic design business and now, a commercial mortgage for the café.  CCEC is more than a bank. It is about personal relationships where, for example,  Shelly provided tips on using our ATM card in Mexico and Nikki sharing tips on visiting Disneyland.”   Nadene

“CCEC cares about you.  They know you and I’m not lost in the shuffle.”  Chris

 

Address:

3599 Commercial Street at East 20th Avenue, Vancouver

info@commercialstreetcafe.com

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