Two businessmen are hoping to rekindle memories for all the students who attended Alberni District Secondary School at the former site on Burde Street by reopening the convenience store.
The new business in the neighbourhood is a modern take on the mom and pop corner stores that are now rarely seen.
When Damon Hunt purchased the property at the corner of Burde Street and Anderson Avenue about three years ago, it was with the intention to revamp the commercially-zoned building.
“I found Port Alberni while looking for real estate online,” Hunt said. “I saw that there were amenities for our kids and knew I wanted to move here.”
Hunt, along with his wife Krista and children, found the building perfect for their needs, with a home attached. He spent a lot of time fixing it up and when he started painting the exterior of the former store recently, people started talking.
“So many people have been commenting about always wanting something done with the place,” he said.
The store, Burde Beans Coffee and Things, co-owned by Thatcher Stokes, is going to be a modern day convenience store and coffee shop. Hunt and Stokes want to keep some of the same stock as the original store, including staples like bread and milk and standards like candy, gum, chocolate bars and pop.
“Coffee and tea will be the main focus in the cafe section,” Thatcher said. “We are doing pour-over coffee, which is different than most. We pride ourselves on our espressos and mochas. We may just revolutionize the mocha industry in Port Alberni.”
That will come with the help of the locally roasted beans from Misty Ridge Coffee Roasting Company, Hunt said.
He said the objective is to create a neighbourhood hub with seating, free WIFI and an arcade.
“It will be a place to hang out and enjoy a cup of good coffee,” Stokes said.
Stokes moved to Port Alberni from Vancouver for the business opportunity. He visited Hunt in the summer to talk about the idea and decided to take the chance. By August, cosmetic renovations started in earnest. As a self-motivated people person, Stokes has already been inviting walk-bys to come in to try the coffee before the doors officially open.
“A lot of people are driving or walking by asking about what we are doing,” he said. “They seem excited.”
In the near future, the two have plans to expand with French doors opening onto a patio. They will also be providing carabiner clips to hook leashes to the outside wall and water dishes for dogs in the warmer weather.
Hunt said customers can expect a soft opening in mid-December.