Sisters Hannah and Sarah Kefeder, who are 18 and 19 years old respectively, have opened up a new coffee shop in Burns Lake called Downtown Central. It officially opened to the public on Oct. 6, taking over for the previous establishment Alternative Grounds, which closed down.
It’s quite a feat for the two teenagers, who not only have gotten a small business off the ground with only their own savings, but have done so during a time where small businesses are struggling mightily due to the pandemic. For the Kefeder sisters though, COVID-19 actually created an opportunity.
“The previous owner of Alternative Grounds was really struggling, which opened up an opportunity to take over the business,” Sarah told Lakes District News. “Rent for the building is much lower then it would have been if it wasn’t for COVID-19, and we were able to purchase all the kitchen and coffee-making equipment for a very reasonable price because the previous owner wanted to get rid of it quickly, so the stars sort of aligned for us.”
Sarah and Hannah have had a goal of running a coffee shop for years, it’s a vision they say, began with their great grandmother. “Our mother has always been a really good cook, and when we were younger she would always make all recipes that were passed down from our great grandmother,” said Hannah. “That’s where our inspiration came from.”
Along with that inspiration, the Kefeders also have multiple years of restaurant experience to draw from as well. Hannah previously worked as a server at the Lakeland Hotel restaurant, and Sarah has worked at just about every food establishment in town, including the Lakeland, Burns Lake Pizza, the Bruins Den, as well as A&W.
Sarah, who lives in Burns Lake opens the shop with Hannah coming in a bit later due to the fact that she lives in Southside. “I told my sister that if she want’s to open early in the morning, then its on her because I’m not waking up at 4 a.m. to catch a ferry,” Hannah said jokingly.
As for the menu, the Kefeders say its always changing, and will be expanding more as the months go on. “Right now we have sandwiches, lots of different coffees and warm drinks, and different baked goods that change daily depending on what we bake. In the winter we’re going to be adding more sandwiches to the menu, and next spring we’ll be adding smoothies as well.”
So far, business has been a success according to the sisters. “It’s going really well so far. We know the previous business was struggling because of COVID-19, but we’ve been doing well, it’s been about what we anticipated,” said Sarah.
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