There is something brewing in a Yellow Point cornfield.
Inspired by the community work of his local coffee shop, farmer Murray McNab carved a giant image of the COCO Café’s logo into his seven-acre cornfield at McNab’s Corn Maze on Yellow Point Road to show his support.
The large steaming coffee cup has become the symbol of the Cedar-based café that provides a warm and supportive place for its workers with developmental disabilities to interact with the community.
McNab’s corn was recently featured as one of the menu items for a summer wedding catered by the café.
Use of local ingredients is another draw for customers who are attracted by the social objectives of the café on Cedar Road.
The café celebrated its second year of operation in June. Another milestone was having the first employee with a developmental disability transitioning into full-time employment at the café.
These achievements have not been without challenges.
Trish Johnston, one of the café’s founders, notes that COCO’s staffing costs are significantly higher than a regular café — often more than double.
“We exist to provide opportunities for our community members who face challenges due to developmental disabilities to work and be a recognized part of our community,” she says. “The more income we can generate, the more work opportunities we are able to provide.”
The café has identified catering as key to helping achieve the goal of financial sustainability without having to rely on any external funding. The catering also creates a great platform for COCO’s goals of inclusion and visibility within the community.
After an exciting summer, which included the café’s first catered wedding, café manager Melanie Cadden and her team are looking forward to the Christmas season.
“Our staff enjoy the different work experiences provided by catering, and customers enjoy knowing that their meal purchase supports the work of the café,” says Cadden.
The café provides onsite catering and deliveries in the Ladysmith, Nanaimo, Parksville and Qualicum areas. Catering menus are available on the café’s website at cedaropportunities.coop, via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 250-323-2223.
Right now, COCO Café is in the running to win a new van for catering deliveries. The café is asking everyone to help them win a new van by visiting ReaList Realty on Facebook and telling them why COCO Café deserves a van.