Loyal customers save Sooke’s beloved Stick in the Mud cafe from closure

Loyal customers save Sooke's beloved Stick in the Mud cafe from closure

It’s rare that the Stick in the Mud is locked up during the day and closed for business.

But the beating heart of The Stick, as it’s known to regulars, is far from dead.

David Evans recently signed over the cafe operations he started up 16 years ago to the Sooke Community Investment Co-operative, spearheaded by a group of regulars who couldn’t bear to see their favourite coffee spot closed for good.

Evans will continue running the roaster.

“I am passing along the assets of the cafe and the bakery. So The Stick in the Mud Cafe and the bakery to the co-operative,” Evans said.

He tried selling the cafe on Eustace Road, but with no offers, he’s pleased the community is stepping up.

“The co-op bubbled to the surface and is the one that deserves to take over. The staff and the community are the ones who need to take over,” Evans said.

Wendy O’Connor and two other regulars decided this community treasure could not stay closed.

But they couldn’t afford to buy it, so they decided to save it with a co-operative, getting the community to buy shares.

And so far, they’ve sold more than 400.

“Three months ago, when we said, ‘Let’s do this,’ we had no clue what we were getting into, yeah. The summer we bought a coffee shop,” O’Connor said.

The owner of Langford’s Poncho Cafe and Catering is mentoring the co-operative every step of the way.

“I think if they stick to the advice that they’ve been given, not just by myself but from a number of us in the industry. I think they will do really well. Just keep the good people in place. Stick to the formula that David has cultivated over the last 16 years,” Doug Stuart said.

The co-op is still welcoming new members, who can buy membership shares for a dollar, with a minimum of 30 shares.

“It’s where you make friends. It’s where you walk in and see your friends,” O’Connor said.

The co-op hopes to reopen The Stick in the next two to three weeks.

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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