According to Michelle Fournier, living in Port Stanley is a little bit like living on an island. The community is alive with great places to eat, shop, and enjoy live entertainment, but is far enough removed from the rush of the big city (and close enough to the beach) to make you feel like you are on a permanent vacation.
“We have a very tight knit community here,” says Michelle. “Everyone in Port Stanley is so friendly and willing to help out; people genuinely care about your well-being.”
Five years ago when the local bakery/coffee shop on the corner of Bridge St. and Main St. was set to close, Michelle sprung into action to make sure that this tight knit community had a comfortable place to hang out. The need for a local hub was apparent when, on a cold day in February 2012, Michelle opened the doors of the Village Square Coffee House for the first time to a whopping 50 customers.
The Village Square Coffee House is a welcoming stop for both tourists and cyclists alike but caters primarily to full-time and seasonal residents of the small lakeside village. Staff develop close relationships with customers who come back again and again, year after year, bringing their friends and family with them.
Homemade baked goods, light lunches made with local ingredients, and of course superb coffee are the specialties of the Village Square Coffee House. Michelle serves up espressos, cappuccinos, ice coffees, and regular coffee in dark roast, medium roast, and decaf – all made exclusively from freshly ground Las Chicas Del Café coffee beans.
Las Chicas Del Café Coffee is imported, roasted and packaged in downtown St. Thomas by Maria Fiallos and Valeria Fiallos-Soliman who source the beans directly from suppliers in their native country of Nicaragua. Through coffee sales and fundraising Las Chicas Del Café raises money for the remote mountain community in Nicaragua where the Las Chicas Plantation is located. Proceeds from the coffee sales go to purchase medical supplies, maternity support items, and other things that are needed in the community.
“When a customer buys a cup of my coffee, they can know that a percentage is going to a worthy cause,” says Michelle.
Through her relationship with Las Chicas, Michelle has been able to travel to Nicaragua to the Las Chicas Plantation and meet with the coffee growers, pickers, farm hands, and their neighbours and families. She feels very fortunate to have been able to travel to Nicaragua, develop meaningful relationships with her suppliers, and learn about the coffee that she sells.
“I am very lucky to have a business in a community that I love,” says Michelle. “I am a part of the Port Stanley Community but at the same time, I now feel like part of this community in Nicaragua.”
For more information about the Village Square Coffee House visit http://www.villagesquarecoffeehouse.com/.