Melissa Ouimette told SooToday her parents ruined her life as a teenager when they moved her and her family to Iron Bridge from Bruce Mines as a child. Ouimette has finally returned to Bruce Mines, and finds herself in the centre of the community as owner of the the newly opened Copper Bean Cafe.
The cafe opened Dec. 13, 2018 to coincide with Ouimette’s 49th birthday. She says the completely remodelled cafe was opened because she was needed a place to stop for a breakfast sandwich and a coffee (that wasn’t in a styrofoam cup) when travelling back to Sault Ste. Marie from her family camp at Basswood Lake.
“You never want to come home on Sunday,” she said. “No one ever did it, so i had to.”
Ouimette has worked in several areas of the food service industry and various locations, beginning in the kitchen at the Red Top Inn in Iron Bridge when she was 15. “I loved serving, I managed a few restaurants and I’ve always wanted to get back into it,” she said. “I love cafes.”
Business has been “phenomenal,” according to Ouimette with patrons from Thessalon, St. Joseph Island, Sault Ste. Marie, and of course Bruce Mines all showing overwhelming support.
The Copper Bean Cafe aims to support local; their coffee comes from Superior Roasters and Copper Country Coffee Roasters. The cafe offers a drink called the Bruce Mines Fog which features a Georgian Bay tea blend with vanilla and steamed milk.
Ouimette was going for a ‘cozy’ feel when designing the cafe but also wanted it to be eclectic. Most of the items that provide the atmosphere represent a part of Bruce Mines or of Ouimette’s family. The tin on the walls is from a fallen-down sugar shack on her brother’s property; barn board is from the farm where she grew up; and two church pews, that are over 100 years old, saved from the St. Andrew’s Church fire are also featured.
Ouimette’s own artistic touch is evident with tables she and her family made using pennies. Many of the dishes used are from her mother’s kitchen. “It’s a mixture of everyone,” she said of the cafe. “A bunch of my old memories, and everyone contributing as well.”
There’s a lot more than coffee happening at the cafe - upstairs has been converted into a bed and breakfast and a number of workshops have been set up. They will be hosting a ‘safe way to detox’ workshop in January.
The cafe has a family feel as Ouimette’s mother and daughters are often working along side her.
The Copper Bean Cafe is located at 9196 Hwy 17 East, Bruce Mines. The Cafe is open Tuesday and Wednesday 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Thursday and Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can find out more, including their daily specials, by visiting the Copper Bean Cafe Facebook page.