Supporting Local Is Easier Than You Think

Jeff Dies

The Old Bookstore Cafe will be closing permanently on May 31, 2020.

[This article ran in the December 2018/January 2019 issue of The SCOOP.]

Leaving Centreville on a recent Sunday, I was driving south on County Road 4 in Camden East and planning to refill my mug at a well-known coffee shop on the 401. But that day turned out differently. When I arrived at the familiar stop sign at County Road 4 and County Road 1, with McCormick's Country Store to my left, and across from the Library, I looked to my right at The Old Bookstore Cafe. I'd always wanted to stop there to grab a coffee, perhaps some food, and to Support Local.

So that Sunday while at the stop sign leaving Stone Mills Township like so many of us do for work or for shopping at big box stores, I decided it was time for me to finally check out The Old Bookstore Café. I quickly turned right, and, not knowing exactly where to park, pulled in behind the building. Grabbing my refillable travel mug that I drink all my coffee from, I approached the door, excited to finally support this local business and to check out this place that I'd heard so much about.

As I walked in the door, I felt like I had just walked into someone's home. It was so charming and warm, with a young woman writing on a whiteboard hung by the doors, and tables set up for people to enjoy coffee, conversation, food, or maybe just a good book.

My eyes didn't know where to land, there was so much for me to explore. I spotted the coffee, as that's what I had come in for, but I didn't stop there. I continued to walk in, awed at all this local shop had to offer me, as it did for many others who walked through those doors before me.

I was promptly greeted with a friendly "Hello" from a woman living her dream, owning her little piece of our great community. Her name is Bonnie. Bonnie came out from behind the counter and showed me around the cafe, describing all the local artisans and vendors that she supports by having their products for sale on the shelves. There was honey, pickled eggs and beans, cards, books by local authors, and SO MUCH MORE.

While chatting with Bonnie she explained to me that she would love nothing more than to be open every day of the week and to have longer hours, but she just can't afford it. She needs to work another job to afford the rent for the cafe.

Bonnie shared with me that she hosts a “Hangover Breakfast” on January 1, with all the greasy food you need the day after! She's also very proud of the Appreciation Breakfast that she hosts for the Township EMTs, which is supported by generous donations by other local businesses in the Township including Abrams Bakery, Quinn's Meats, and others. The event is further supported by Township firefighters who cook and serve the meals.

Unfortunately, The Old Bookstore Cafe struggles to get locals through its doors. Like so many business owners, Bonnie is thankful for local events that bring people to the Township and customers to her Cafe. Bonnie recalled a weekend this past May where, if it hadn’t been for a local event, she would have had zero customers. She was thankful that visitors stopped by on their way to the event and later returned on their way home a couple days later, buying coffee, food, and gifts.

Bonnie gained a new regular customer in me that Sunday and she also inspired me to encourage others to shop and support local.

Visit the Stone Mills Marketplace business directory at then GET OUT, challenge yourself, change your routine, support local, and support small businesses in your community.