For café partners Linda Hovdebo and Carolyn Fletcher, this time of COVID gives each a yearning for a sense of revival and nostalgia.
The Vernon pair are going back to the future with their new endeavour, opening soon The Roxy Café. And it will be in the same downtown Vernon building on 31st Street behind Nolan’s Drugs that housed the historic Roxy Bakery and Delicatessen for years (the last business to operate in the building was the Arcadian Kitchen).
“As time goes on, people move on and things will change and get better,” said Hovdebo as she and Fletcher take a breather from doing upgrades inside their cafe. “There’s a little bit of nostalgia and wanting to revive good things, wholesome food and good memories.”
Both women, longtime friends whose children went to pre-school, elementary and high school together, and played hockey together, loved the name Roxy when researching a moniker for their business. The Roxy Bakery and Delicatessen was operated for many years by the late Art Koselowski, who arrived in Vernon in 1964 and was the former bakery manager at Super-Valu Grocery before taking over The Roxy.
“The name Roxy came up and we liked the ring of that, but we didn’t want to copy it,” said Hovdebo. “We asked the family if they would be OK with us using that name and bringing it back.”
Hovdebo used to work with Caleeda Otter, a granddaughter of Koselowski’s, who told her mom, Corinne Zacharuk, about the Roxy request. Both ladies loved the idea and came to the store to have a look around.
“There will be baked goods, soups, sandwiches, plant-based stuff,” said Hovdebo. “Art was known for his baking so maybe we’ll make one of his famous rye breads and call it ‘Art’s Rye Bread,’ or make poppy seed cakes which he was famous for.”
The ladies hope to have some black and white photos of the old store decorate the inside of their business which they would like to have operating early March, depending on paperwork.
“The issue with COVID is that everything now takes longer than it’s supposed to when opening a new business,” said Fletcher, a former wedding photographer (hubby is Heath Fletcher of Sproing Creative fame) turned baker. “We’re waiting for a permit to operate.”
The duo has also been working on some building upgrades.
When ready to open, Fletcher and Hovdebo will serve what they call a ‘flexitarian’ menu. It will only be takeout service at first due to COVID.
“We’ll cater to dietary needs like gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and people who have allergies,” said Hovdebo, a former massage therapist and early childhood educator who is realizing her longtime dream of operating either a food truck or small café.
“There will be lots of organic selections using local ingredients.”
Added Fletcher: “For vegan partners who are carnivores, they can add meats. It’ll be basic. Add your bacon because that’s a food group.”
The excitement for both women as opening day draws closer is evident.
“We have to rein it in at times but we’ve been able to pay attention to detail because we’ve had the time,” said Hovdebo.
“We’re learning patience is a virtue,” laughed Fletcher.