Ironworks Cafe & Creperie is opening up a new location in downtown Nanaimo.
The new location will be the fourth Ironworks to open up since 2018 — the first of which was opened in Ladysmith. There is a location on Station Street in Duncan, and a seasonal location in downtown Chemainus.
Dina Stuehler is the owner of Ironworks. After selling her home in Lake Cowichan, Stuehler moved to downtown Nanaimo. She said she was not planning to open up a new location, but when she walked past the storefront at 200 Commercial Street that used to be Power House Living Foods, she saw a perfect opportunity to expand her business.
“I wasn’t planning an expansion until maybe another year from now,” Stuehler said.
Ironworks, much like many other cafes and restaurants, has seen a decrease in sales during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve seen a steep decline in sales at the cafe. I think the only reason I’m having success in the sense that I’m able to expand is that I’m a workaholic, and every penny I make, I reinvest into my business,” Stueher said.
For those who are unfamiliar with Ironworks Cafe & Creperie, they specialize in high quality coffee, and have a variety of both sweet and savoury crepes. Stuehler said what sets Ironworks apart is the customer service.
“We’re very lucky to have customers walking through our door. We want to make sure that we create an atmosphere of welcome, and of thanks for our customers,” she said.
Stuehler worked for over eight years on cruise ships before founding Ironworks. She has travelled to over 100 countries, and found that of all the places in the world she could set down roots, central Vancouver Island was the best place for her.
And those roots are getting deep. Stuehler is taking on an active role in the Ladysmith Downtown Business Association, and is the Vice President of the Duncan Downtown Business Improvement Association. In her spare time, Stuehler works with WorkBC to give guidance to budding entrepreneurs.
“Ironworks is a huge thing for me, but it’s more about creating opportunities for other people — especially young women — and seeing them be able to do what I’ve done,” Stuehler said.
Despite the rapid expansion of her business, Stuehler said she isn’t rushing to franchise Ironworks, although she hasn’t ruled out franchising Ironworks in the future.
The new Ironworks Cafe and Creperie is expected to open Friday December 18. Ironworks will be open 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily.