It's the peak of summer and nothing screams summer more than lemonade. It's refreshing, sweet, tart and there's so many flavours you can add to it. I'm a big fan of lemonade. Really, I am. Speaking of lemonade... did you know that's how we started Anchor??
Before Kyle and I opened our first storefront almost six years ago, we started with a small booth at the Downtown Windsor Farmers' Market. Before we sold any coffee, we sold lemonade.
Kyle and I both knew we wanted to open a cafe one day. We had been married four years and I was managing a coffee shop at the time, "Cafe A Roma". Through some mutual friends, we got the opportunity to become a vendor at the Farmers' Market. We figured this would be a good opportunity to try our hand at the small business idea, and it would entail very little risk, so we bought a table and a tent. I asked my boss at Cafe A Roma if I could use the space after hours to bake some cookies to sell at the Farmers' Market because we needed to use a certified kitchen. He agreed, and so we spent every Friday night that summer baking after I closed up the cafe. And every Saturday we got up at 5am to set up at the market. We took a piece of burlap and traced the name "Anchor Baked Goods" on it and so, Anchor began.
After one of week of being at the market we realized it was hot as hell outside and none of the vendors were selling cold beverages. So we bought a few glass jugs and started making lemonade. I would do funky flavours like Blueberry Basil, Mango and Strawberry Mint.
(Look how young Kyle is!!)
After a couple weeks we added additional items to our menu, like iced tea, cold brew coffee and quinoa salads... but the lemonade was always our best seller.
Long story short, January, the following year, we ended up purchasing Cafe A Roma off my former boss and opened "Anchor Coffee House" where we featured all the recipes from the Farmers' Market, as well as sandwiches, salads, soups, coffee and yes... lemonade.
It's still surreal for me to look back at old photos of when we started and to see how far we've come (thank God our photo quality and branding has gotten much better). To think that six years later we would have two cafe locations, a business partner and sixteen staff is so crazy to me. In those six years we've learned so much, but we're still those crazy kids with big dreams and wild ambitions. Our goals have only gotten bigger and we have no plans of slowing down or taking less risk. Fortunately for us, we now have an amazing team to back us up and are surrounded by a super supportive community.
If there's one thing I've learned through this Anchor experience, it's not to be afraid to take risk. Starting this business was an incredible amount of hard work and sacrifice and we've had to put other dreams and aspirations on hold in order to pursue this one. Although we've felt discouraged and overwhelmed at times, it's been totally worth it.
So, all that to say, whenever I drink lemonade I'm reminded of our humble beginnings at the market and how we got started. I'm reminded that I have a lot to be grateful for and I'm encouraged that there's still a lot of adventure ahead.
I'm going to share that Strawberry Mint Lemonade recipe with you... cheers!
1/2 cup organic cane sugar (or regular white sugar is fine too)
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup fresh sliced strawberries
3 cups water
8-12 leaves of fresh mint
Measure water and sugar in a small pot on the stove and bring to boil. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice, strawberries and mint. Pour into a glass jar or pitcher and refrigerate over night. Serve over ice.