Coming up this Saturday, July 7, starting around 11:00 is Stick Fest Five, put on by David Evans and his coffee crew down at The Stick In The Mud Coffee House in Sooke. David officially opened the stick on 07/07/07, and every year since he’s thrown an anniversary party to celebrate and give back to his loyal following of caffeinated customers. I had a chance to ask David a few questions about coffee, success, and celebration, and he was kind enough to step away from the roaster for a few moments to answer.
Stick Fest is “…our way of saying thanks to the community that has become The Stick,” says David. Over the last 5 years, countless coffee lovers, locals and visitors alike, have made room for his coffee in their lives. “Its all about live music, good food, entertainment, families… In the past we have featured jugglers, ukuleleists, DJs… This year we’re music-heavy with performances by Cathi Coutts, Janet MacTavish, Marian Schols & Company, and DJ Jeremy…”
David and I chatted about the last 5 years and why the Stick has been able to flourish and grow in a difficult economy. “The Stick is Lucky. We have great staff and great customers – without them we would be nothing!” David remarks that the Stick always strives for excellence in their food and beverage and to make the Stick a place where everyone belongs. Truer words never spoken – I always take new clients and newcomers to Sooke to the Stick – and they are always impressed by the quality of the coffee and the warm, welcoming atmosphere.
If you’ve been by the shop lately you’ve probably noticed that the Stick is expanding into some of the space formerly occupied by the optical store which recently closed. While most of the renovations are being done to the back-end of the business (training/coffee lab area, electrical work, etc.), David is most excited about the extra 200 square feet or so of seating area, some new windows overlooking the courtyard, and a new door, which will enable the Stick to optimize its traffic flow at the entrance to avoid the congestion which often occurs there at peak times. It’s hoped that the new space will be ready for Stick Fest on July 7.
I asked David about the future – and while he doesn’t have a crystal ball, he’s excited about the future and has some ideas brewing, of course. “…the past five years have shown me that trying to direct something as wild as The Stick doesn’t work – it will seek its own future, driven by staff and customers.” The roasting side of the business continues to grow – “We’re now supplying about a dozen restaurants and offices with coffee and equipment” Will we see another Stick location at some point in the future? “This is the kind of business that requires the right people… It would be a mistake to open new locations without very careful consideration of who will be working there.”
David is very modest when it comes to his role in the business – “Really, I’m just the guy who pays the rent these days. The Stick’s greatness – if I can say that – is entirely due to the mix of people inside the shop, both staff and customers.”
Congratulations to David and his team for an amazing five years, and best of luck for future success in the years to come.