A new drive-through coffee shop has opened on First Street, virtually in the shadow of Vanderhoof’s local franchise of Canada’s best known coffee shop.
And unlike it’s well known neighbour, the drive-through operated by Tyrol and Teresa Forfar is not part of a chain, and does not have the benefit of the powerful advertising machine of its competitor.
It is, metaphorically, at least, a battle of David and Goliath proportions, with the upstart newcomer daring to open for business within a stone’s throw of it’s famous competitor.
“We’re a little bit different in that we’re sourcing our coffee beans locally from a supplier in Smithers and one here in town,” explained Teresa Forfar.
“I was a stay at home mom and I really felt there was room for another drive through that served really good coffee. We have some specialty blends and I think people are going to respond to what we have to offer.”
Tyrol Forfar, who grew up in Vanderhoof and still works in the forestry industry here, said that the couple came up with the idea about two years ago and, when financing recently came available, they decided to “go for broke” on the venture.
The couple is offering the usual coffee shop fare, but has one product that certainly sets them apart from any other coffee drive-through.
“We operate Springhill Bison Company, and we’ll be using this drive-through as a retail outlet for some of our meat products as well. We’ve got pepperoni, jerky, bison-burger patties and ground bison, and we’ll soon have some prime cuts of bison meat available as well,” said Tyrol.
He went on to explain that the limited footprint of land available to the couple, combined with the cost of grills and hood vents, made the idea of selling bison burgers at the drive through impractical.
“At some point in the future we may be able to expand and provide that service, but for now people can come through here, get some great coffee and food, and buy some bison product to cook at home.”
And although the couple readily admits to having no restaurant experience, they maintain that it might be that inexperience that has made it possible for them to think outside the envelope to combine several great ideas in what they hope will be a winning business idea.