Self-described as an eatery, a meeting place and a coffee roaster, Settlement Co. wants you to know that they are not just a coffee shop. This is the second new business in as many years for Rob Theodosiou, who opened Abe Erb in the fall of 2014. It’s a new venture for partners Ben Schabner and Nicholas Hollier who, combined, have nearly 25 years of experience in the coffee business.
According to the owners, the emphasis at Settlement Co. is on quality. Quality food. Quality coffee. Quality experience. “If you feel the same way when you come to Settlement as you do at Tim Horton’s, we’ve done something wrong,” said Theodosiou.
The highly stylized and thoughtful design at Settlement Co. was important from the outset. From the herringbone wood floors to the signature blue mugs from Hollier’s hometown of Wellington, New Zealand, the look and feel of the space is essential to the overall experience.
The back half of the space, also known as the “Coffice,” is available for rent and can accommodate small groups of up to 50 people. Plans for an alleyway patio in warmer weather will add more seats and bring people in from Dominion Lane as well as King Street.
By foot or by bicycle, you can take the Iron Horse Trail into Kitchener to visit another new coffee place.
Part coffee shop, part bike shop, the Berlin Bicycle Café is a mash-up of two established cultures in Waterloo Region, and is close to opening. The initial idea started as a bike shop but the owners Kerri Krawec and Graham Roe were drawn to the community aspect of coffee. Their vision is a full service café, where you can have a coffee while someone fixes your flat tire.
There’s also an advocacy piece at the Bicycle Café. They specialize in lifestyle cycling and are actively encouraging the community to embrace cycling not just for recreation or as a hobby but as a serious means of transportation—a tool for people to access and participate in their community.
“We had looked at other places [but] a location that’s great for bikes might not be great for a coffee shop,” Krawec said. She and Roe found their ideal location to celebrate both cycling and coffee just steps away from the Iron Horse Trail, in Belmont Village. And even before their doors opened, Krawec and Roe were enthusiastic about the support they had received from the Belmont Village community. “We’re very fortunate to have a location where the community really supports local independent businesses,” said Krawec.
There is no shortage of coffee shops in the Region, but Settlement Co. and the Berlin Bicycle Café appeal to a sense of place and vibrancy that is key to a community’s vitality. Neither are typical coffee shops.