ROTHESAY, N.B.– In a province heavily dependent on cars, a new cafe is hoping to help make one town a more walkable place to live.
The Garden Grove Cafe in Rothesay is a small cafe that’s become a go-to place since it opened late last month.
Located on the corner of Grove Avenue in Rothesay inside a recently renovated heritage property, the Garden Grove offers fresh coffee and teas, delicious fresh pastries, and a cozy, yet stylish spot to meet with friends that’s beyond Instagram worthy.
The cafe is run by Jessica Reid, who, after years of working in the hospitality industry, wanted to run her own business.
“There was this huge void in the community for a gathering place and the community was just calling out for it,” Reid says. “It’s been something that’s been really incredible to offer everyone. It’s been very warmly received.”
Reid’s business partners are Jeff and Brittany Kitchen, the owners of Vantage Build. Vantage Build’s offices are also located in the building and the company took the lead on renovating the space.
Two Grove Avenue was originally built in 1850 as a gardener’s cottage. The building was formerly a store that lent books and sold hand-knits, toys, cards, preserves and baked goods throughout the 1950s. When the store closed in 1959, it became a residential home. With the building’s latest renovations, the goal was to make it a community space once again.
“We wanted something that was locally owned and locally run to add to the community,” says Reid.
Though there are other places to get coffee and sweets in the area, many of those places are part of bigger chains on the main road with heavy vehicle traffic. Reid says they wanted to create a spot in the centre of town that was walking distance to nearby neighbourhoods and recreation.
“We’re located right in the heart of the community, right on the Rothesay Commons. There are tons of people that are using the park more with the new development there and the skating rink in winter and basketball courts in the summer,” says Reid. “That draws in new people to walk there to get outside and get moving. We just wanted to compliment that by having a cafe here that’s walkable in and around so many neighborhoods and so many schools. It’s on this main corner that’s part of everyone’s daily commute.”
Though there is parking available at Garden Grove and it’s in the dead of winter, Reid says many patrons have actually been walking to the cafe.
“We have this one girl who comes in every day for a hot chocolate on her way to school. She just lives up the street and she comes here every day for a hot chocolate and to warm up. There are also couples that live in the area that walk down,” she says.
“It’s really nice to hear how the cafe has been working its way into the community. People are saying they are out for dinner and they were going to go home for coffee, but they thought they’d stop in and have coffee and dessert here instead.”
Garden Grove is a very new business, but Reid is pleased to see how the cafe has been embraced by the community so far.
“The nicest compliment that I’ve received and that I keep hearing is that it feels like home. That’s so nice to hear, being a new business,” she says. “Just having that first impression of feeling that we’ve almost always been here. It’s been really nice.”
Like many towns, Rothesay has experienced lots of development over the last couple of decades. Reid says she hopes Garden Grove reminds people that small independent business can still thrive in the area.
“The changes have been huge and a lot of the stores are larger national brands, so I would love to have this cafe opening encourage other people to open small businesses in the area,” she says.