Written by Debra Lynn
Finally, Port Alice residents will have a place to drink a leisurely cup of coffee somewhere other than within the confines of their own home.
A few people have contemplated opening a coffee shop, but, in the end, Spencer Mousek has committed to taking on the challenge.
Mousek admits that starting a business in a remote area was “a little bit scary.” She goes on to say, “When I was developing my business plan there wasn’t a whole lot of data to use to compare, so I guess you could say it’s a bit of gamble.”
Mousek lived in Port Alice as a child from 2000 to 2004, when her father worked at the mill. After the mill shut down, her family then moved to Alberta. She met her partner, Cody Woelfle while attending college in Olds. After deciding to move out to the Island, spending a year in Campbell River and another in Victoria, they ended up buying a house in Port Alice in 2015 to free themselves from renting. Mousek got a job as a safety administrator for Strategic Natural Resource Consultants in Port McNeill while Cody launched an arborist business.
They decided to move to Port Alice because “we just kind of got sick of the busy city life and we wanted a bit of break. I had some roots in Port Alice and always really loved it here.”
Her coffee shop, called the Foggy Mountain Coffee Company, is located in the strip mall along Marine Drive. It is slated to open sometime in early summer, in June or July as soon as renovations are complete.
Mousek is aiming for an atmosphere with a “rustic West Coast kind of vibe.” She says, “there might be a bit of a Mish-mash of table styles, just kind of whatever we can find and if we can reuse stuff that’s great…just kind of keeping it a little eclectic.” A unique feature of the café is a wall of Teredo wood, a.k.a. “wormwood.” It is produced when the Teredo clam takes up residency on underwater wood, such as log debris or docks, and bores holes and tunnels. The decorative boring patterns in the Teredo wood that washes up on shores can be a visual delight for many a beachcomber!
Along with drip coffee and specialty coffees, such as lattes and cappuccinos, she plans to serve sandwiches, baked goods, breakfast sandwiches…“things along those lines.” She also intends to carry the work of local artists and artisans, saying, “it has been built into the business plan so it’s just a matter of networking and making those connections and moving forward with that.”
Mousek hopes that her coffee shop will eventually have wifi and be a place where people can hang out and work on their laptops, but, for now, all depends on what goes on with the COVID restrictions.
Mousek has plenty of experience as a barista. She worked in her best friend’s mom’s coffee shop for many years when she was in high school. She adds, “I’ve also done some other barista type work kind of here and there throughout my working career.”
Mousek has always wanted to open a coffee shop since moving back to Port Alice, “I think that a coffee shop would be great here. I think that Port Alice has so much potential, and everyone just wants to see it thrive…I really just wanted to be a part of that.”
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