Patricia Spencer was looking for a new location for her business, Savoir Faire Catering when she was fortunate enough to experience a moment of serendipity.
“I had been working with a real estate agent to try and purchase a commercial property. Luckily North Bay has a lot of investment opportunities so the investment market was really great,” shared Spencer.
“My real estate agent happened to be talking to another one who said that the Pinehill Coffee Shop likely would l be coming up for lease. I happened to be driving by just as I got that phone call, so I went to the end of the road, and turned around.”
See related: Letter: Pinehill Coffee Shop, our Third Place
That is when she saw the owner of the former iconic coffee shop walking into the building.
“So I pulled into the parking lot and asked if I could come and take a look at it and he said ‘Yes, absolutely.’ So in the matter of a couple of hours, we had decided this was the place for us because it was just so warm and inviting and just had so much wonderful history, and a community feel to it.”
Renovations were obviously required to transform the coffee shop space into a functioning commercial kitchen designed to house a catering business.
“The move was very smooth. I was transitioning from one kitchen to another and still had to operate my business. So by moving some equipment in here early, I was able to do some dry runs. It just worked very well," explained Spencer.
“It has just been such a positive experience. The neighbourhood has been great, the neighbours in the little strip mall have been fantastic, and very supportive. And everyone wants to get my name out there which is fantastic.”
She quickly found the space had good bones.
“So when you have a good structure it is easy to work with it.”
Spencer says there was an investment into the building and the extra equipment that she needed, but it was as close to being a turn-key operation as she could have found.
“Mostly we just removed the old counter, took away some of the equipment that was already in here, which was resold. Basically, we just put in stainless tables and brought in all of our equipment. I didn’t have to do a lot to the building, other than a little bit of paint here and there, that was about it,” Spencer shared.
“It is well worth every penny.”
Response to the business moving in and filling the empty space in the plaza has been positive.
“The community has been great. It is a commercial kitchen, so we don’t offer food for people to come and sit down and eat. However, just the opportunity to be able to present myself, tell them who I am, how long I’ve been in business, and what services we offer and provide has been great. And the community has been very supportive of that. I actually have to order more business cards because they’ve been flying out the door, which is amazing,” Spencer said with a wide grin.
“So, I’m super excited about the opportunities that will come in the future. I’m looking at a number of different new products that we’ll probably bring to the marketplace come the winter and the fall, once my summer season is over.”
Savoir Faire offers everything from event planning to custom catering, private cheffing, and corporate events, along with standard events such as weddings, funerals, celebrations of life, birthdays, and anniversaries. Spencer has been known to take her catering business on the road, to communities across the province.
“If somebody needs décor done or anything like that, I will sit down with them, and decide what they need. We kind of go above and beyond the general catering profession and offer just about everything.”