Excitement is brewing in Cadboro Bay.
It’s been more than six months since the closure of the neighbourhood Starbucks location, a popular local haunt for some 16 years. Now, a new coffeehouse is set to open.
Moka House has been a fixture on Cook Street since 1996, serving everyone from shy coffee lovers on first dates to busy folks needing a caffeine boost between meetings. Now, owners Will and Stacey Sparling have begun expanding to Cadboro Bay.
When they heard the Starbucks at 3849 Cadboro Bay Rd. would be permanently closing in October 2020, their interest was piqued. The Sparlings weren’t planning to expand because they were happy on Cook Street with their close-knit community and loyal customers, but when the space became available, they couldn’t say no.
Will and Stacey bought the Moka House franchise from a friend five years ago upon moving back to the Island from Ontario. In an effort to de-franchise and get back to the local coffee shop’s roots, they sold off the other locations in Greater Victoria and Vancouver.
Cook Street is “the real Moka House” and that’s what the Sparlings were drawn to in the first place. Will explained the property in Cadboro Bay checked all their boxes in terms of community and vibe. The pair decided to replicate their Cook Street model at the new location, with a local flair.
In early March 2021, the Sparlings and their team began “de-Starbucks-ing” the space to give it new life. The plan was to open in time for the May long weekend, but when the time came, they were still waiting on a business license from Saanich and training new staff. However, there was no shortage of prospective customers over the weekend – crowds came by hoping to find the coffee shop open.
Will said they expect to debut sometime before June and aim to “get a sense of what the community needs” so the coffeehouse can be adapted to suit the neighbourhood.
One alteration they’ve already made is to the menu. The Cadboro Bay and Cook Street locations will have similar fare, but the beach-side shop in Saanich will have more sandwiches and grab-and-go snacks for picnics on the sand, he said.
The Sparlings and their team look forward to opening and embracing the Cadboro Bay community with a smile and a flat white or two.
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