Cedrick’s Coffee House and Cafe is much more than a coffee shop.
Coffee, tea and goodies are sold at the business at 1610 Joan Ave. in Crofton, of course, but unique items like silk scarves and pottery are also sold, for charitable purposes. Gerry and Judith Fewster first created and opened Cedrick’s in tribute to friends Adrianne Dartnall and Rick Lennert, and to support the Kids International Development Society, a Vancouver Island charity that assists children, youth and families in Cambodia and Myanmar.
All profits from Cedrick’s go directly to KIDS, providing education, health care, clean drinking water and medical supplies and services for thousands of children facing challenging conditions to lead healthier and happier lives.
“We’ve always had this idea the coffee shop is the first step toward we could build a place where people in the community could get together,” said Gerry.
That’s part of their current plans of further developing a space behind the coffee shop that can be utilized by various community groups. “It’s like a gathering place for people,” noted Judith.
“We’ve had an incredible number of people who want to do various things here,” added Gerry.
Cedrick’s is also coming up to its fourth anniversary and a special celebration is planned for Sunday, Sept. 10 from 2-4 p.m.
It was under rather tragic circumstances that prompted the Fewsters to do something above and beyond the call of duty.
Their friends Dartnall and Lennert lost their 21-year-old daughter Danielle to a drunk driver in a car accident near their home in Nanaimo.
“This place exists because of them,” said Judith. “We’ve been their friends for many years. If we established a coffee shop, that would be an amazing thing for them.”
Dartnall and Lennert decided in 2008 to honour their daughter by forming KIDS and received Canadian charitable status. She’s an educator and social service administrator and he’s a carpenter. Together, with generous donations, they built clinics and schools and maintained a commitment to enhance the well-being of communities.
They provided great opportunities in isolated communities, with their daughter – who planned to educate children during her life – as their focus.
The Cedrick’s name, by the way, comes from a jester of wide vision and imagination. He has created a unique resource for people to share conversation, gather and support the charity.
When Cedrick’s first opened, the market acceptance was very slow.
“In the beginning there were more staff than customers in the coffee house,” noted Judith. “The first year was a real test of faith and commitment.
“In the second year, we moved our counselling office from Duncan to Crofton and friends and volunteers created the lovely rear garden with ponds and water features that are now available for people to enjoy fresh baking and tea in a lovely flower garden. Cedrick’s is a registered Community Contribution Company and the coffee house established our presence in Crofton. The rear garden now has a spacious light filled building with a stage for community groups to use for various activities.”
Gerry and Judith are both psychologists and offer couples and family counselling as well as seminars and training for health professionals and others on deeply loving and respectful relationships.
The coffee house is now a gathering place for people from as far away as Nanaimo and Victoria. More opportunities for use of the community space will be opened soon.
“We’re hoping to respond to the community rather than telling the community what it should have,” said Gerry. “That’s the business plan and things can change as you go along.”
“We’re in continual conversation and supporting one another to be better,” added Judith.
On Friday, Aug. 25 from 1 to 3 p.m., Michael Clarke and friends from the Rock Legends cast at the Chemainus Theatre will offer a concert to support the children’s charity. Admission is by donation and space can be reserved by calling 250-324-1064.
The fourth anniversary on Sept. 10 from 2 to 4 p.m. will feature live music and dancing for adults and clowns, magicians and games for children. Admission is free.
A celebration of life will be held during the afternoon of Sunday, Sept. 24 for Norman Uszy, a community elder, story teller and avid sailor.
In reflection, the Fewsters are happy to have provided so much from a difficult occurrence. “The death of one beautiful young lady has resulted in such wonderful things,” said Judith.