French Press, the art of a good coffee shop

March 2, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

How do you know when it is your turn to follow your dream? For Jackie Green, it was just over a year ago when she quietly bought the French Press Coffee Shop. To celebrate this momentous anniversary of her first year, the French Press is having a party this Saturday, March 4.

It was owned at the time by The Hockley Valley coffee company. The coffee beans were being delivered to the Hockley General Store where Ms. Green had been working for 12 years. A conversation ensued between her and Tom Deans, who is the roaster and one  of the owners of the French Press, and the foundation was laid for Ms. Green to purchase the business.

It was a turn key business. Said Jackie Green, “I didn’t make an announcement that I was the new owner – I just let it go. I wanted a smooth transition to run the coffee shop until we settled in.”

A big part of the how smoothly the transition went can be attributed to the two ladies who were already employed in the French Press: Shelby Marshall and Pavla Hoca.

“I can’t say enough about how wonderful these two are,” Ms. Green commented.  “I call them my colleagues, not my employees.”

A short time after she began with the coffee shop, Ms. Green was told she had cancer. She went through the surgery and some treatment, with the good news at the end, but it was a worrying time for everyone and she was once again quick to praise her help at the shop: “They were wonderful. A great support and help.”

Everything at the French press is made on site (except for the butter tarts): Ms. Hoca prepares the goulash and the freshly made soups; she has begun to make strudel  – “for a touch of Europe,” as she said.

Ms. Marshall does most of  the baked goods and the short bread is made locally; there are delicious sandwiches, some a bit different like the portobello and brie and the chicken and avocado, nicely served. A fine list of salads is also on the menu.

As for the coffee, this being a coffee shop, it is still Hockley Valley roasters and is delivered twice a week, ground in the French Press as needed to keep the flavour at its fullest. They also sell the beans either whole or ground there.

Ms. Green told us, “We have a full license too, so people can have a glass of wine or beer with their lunch. Or a Baileys in their coffee.”

Of course, the anchor is her life is her husband, Paul. As he had joined us for the interview, we asked him about his unflinching support for the purchase of the French Press.

His response: “She’s been working for other people and she was very excited about the cafe. We’ve had three kids and she has cared for them – done a lot for me. She did have another business so she understood that part of it.

“I can see the way things are going – we’ll do some renovations, retaining the atmosphere and just modernizing the place a bit, especially the kitchen.

“It was her turn.”

Married in the U.K., Paul and Jackie Green came to Canada in 1993. After four years in Winnipeg, they came to Ontario and discovered Orangeville.

“It reminded us of a small town in England,” Ms. Green said.

Mr. Green added affectionately, “It felt right, as though we belong here.”

This sentiment was echoed by Pavla Hoca, who comes from the Czech Republic; she and her family came to Orangeville in 2006, commenting, “We like the small town – it’s like home. Most of the people are staying here. I love the atmosphere of the town.”

They all agree about how much they are enjoying running the French Press. With lots of regulars who look forward to seeing what soup is on special and enjoy the variety of the lunch menus, the good coffee and the friendly staff.

Having worked for 10 years at Mono Cliffs Inn, Shelby Marshall appreciates the hours of a coffee shop, specifically 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on the weekdays and 8:00 to 6:00  on Saturdays but closed on Sundays.

“We’re a breakfast and lunch place,” Ms Green remarked. “I love it, being my own shop, meeting people.” Of her ambitions, she said, “I want this to be the best coffee shop in the area; once I get to know my situation, I want to be involved with community events. We have already given to some of the charities.”

So, the ladies are anxious to welcome one and all to their day of celebrating their First Anniversary with coffee and samples – prizes- a meet and greet on this Saturday, March 4, all day. The French Press is located right next door to BookLore. In fact, they have an inside adjoining door.

“”I want people to be really comfortable here,” said Jackie Green.

For more information, you can call 289-966-1757.

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