Anchorage Coffee owner, Sean Bellew
Sydney Blackmore preps a stiff cup of Storefront news with a sprinkle of chocolate.
Anchorage Coffee, 106 Water Street, is the newest espresso café to hit the city’s downtown. Owner Sean Bellew, of St. John’s, developed an appreciation for the Italian-style steamed coffee while living in Vancouver for 12 years.
“I couldn’t get a ‘regular’ cup of coffee,” Bellew says. “All you can buy there is espresso-based coffees. So I got my own machine and started learning about it at home.
“When I imagined this property and this building as a coffee shop, the idea as a whole seemed to work.”
With the help of his wife, Deborah, family members and friends, Bellew has turned the building that once housed Stella’s restaurant into an upscale espresso house with a nautical theme.
“I wanted to go with a bit more of a local theme because I want to feel like I’m home when I’m here,” says Sean. The anchors that don the exterior and interior of the cafe belong to the Bellew family—both are century-old Newfoundland Schooner anchors that were passed down from Sean’s grandfather who was a dory fisherman in Brigus.
The menu has a little bit of everything: seafood chowder, chili, sandwiches, paninis, pizza and fresh baked goods. The majority of the items are made in-house. And there’s no shortage of caffeine choices, with speciality flavours like Canadiano coffee and a banana split espresso concoction.
The café’s grand opening is happening Saturday, August 2 at 9am. The Mac Barfoot Trio will make an appearance for an evening show, 7-9pm. All are welcome to stop by for a cup.
Goodbye, Mr. Chips
In 1989, Tom Kavanagh took a chance and opened up a corner store on Malta Street with his wife and daughter in tow. After 18 years of business, Kavanagh’s Fish and Chips has closed up shop.
Punching in 80-hours, 7 days a week, Kavanagh’s became a neighbourhood fixture where customers were friends.
“Of all the people that come in, I’d say 90% of them I know by their first names,” Says Kavanagh. “Communicating with the customers, that’s the biggest thing I’ll miss.”
Mr. Kavanagh’s retirement announcement was met with a rush of responses.
“[Since the announcement] We’ve probably served 700 orders of fish and chips,” he says. “We have a farewell book, and I think I’ve got a couple of hundred names in there.”
Kavanagh offers advice to Newfoundlanders looking to open their own small business: “Unfortunately the momma and poppa stores are getting rooted out by Sobeys and Dominion, so you have to be dedicated and marry the place if you’re going to run a little business.”
The 31 Malta Street corner store will open its doors on July 28 under the ownership of Mr. Way Aue. The convenience store and eatery will offer the same menu, including Kavanagh’s original fish and chips recipe.
Auntie Crae’s New Hours
For the first time in 31 years, Auntie Crae’s is now open from Tuesdays to Saturdays only. Janet Kelly made the decision. She says she can’t find a set of steady, reliable staffers ready to work her store seven days a week.
“I don’t know what else to do,” she says. “The long-term staff are all working double duty and they’re stretched to the limit and I’m stretched to the limit.
“And to do it for 18 months straight, it’s too much.”
Kelly has tried incentive programs and flexible scheduling to keep workers happy, but so far nothing has worked well enough. She believes the new economy, and worker’s dissatisfaction with the province’s minimum wage of $8 an hour are factors causing the bakery’s employee drought.
“Society can only pay what it can pay,” she says. “There’s a group of people who’ve determined that the wage has to be $20 an hour, or they won’t work. I can tell you, most small businesses would fail if they had to pay that. “
Auntie Crae’s will be accepting resumes, in person and via e-mail, to those looking to work.
For future applicants, Kelly says, “I actually bring them in for a working interview and I pay them for that interview. They spend a day here, talk to people, work behind the counter, work in whatever area so they know what the job is and know what they’re getting into. It’s hard work.”
Auntie Crae’s is opened Tuesday to Saturday, 8am to 7pm.
New Tims on the Block
A new Tim Hortons is slated to fill the North Atlantic gas station that’s expanding on Water Street. This puts the Tims toll up to 11 in the city of St. John’s—that’s a lot of Timbits.