Melissa Beck inside her She Takes the Cake Café in Hay River. Supplied by Melissa Beck
Since February 2013, She Takes The Cake Café in Hay River has done just that, supplying the town with local art, homemade food, and of course, specialty coffee.
Yet soon the beloved shop, currently owned and operated by Melissa Beck, may be changing hands as Beck’s family prepares to explore new opportunities down south after a lifetime in the North.
Beck explained their plans are still tentative as everything hinges on the sale of her business. She clarified misconceptions that the store is closing, explaining, “I won’t go anywhere unless I sell it. I’ve worked hard to bring it to where it is now. As long as I’m in Hay River this is what I want to do; I don’t want to do anything else.”
After putting five and a half years of work into developing the brand, Beck is hopeful the café’s new owners – who have yet to be determined – will retain some of the café’s charm.
“I know it’s kind of wishful thinking because I know when I went into business I had all of my ideas from the colour of the walls to my loyalty programs,” she said, understanding that changing hands equals changes. “It’s an exciting part of owning a business – you want to put your stamp on it.”
The shop’s downtown location has housed numerous bakeries and cafés over the past few decades, so Beck is hoping to sell as a turnkey business with everything included to carry on the tradition.
She is also willing to stay and help the buyers transition into ownership, passing down original recipes and sharing customers’ favourite coffee requests.
“It’s like having a big family of regulars,” said Beck on running a coffee shop in a small town. “It’s amazing to see how their lives change or how their families grow.
“People are upset at the idea of me leaving, but they know I’m trying my hardest to find somebody that wants to continue carrying it on in a similar fashion.”
She said a story in the Hay River Hub, on July 25, garnered much more interest than a Facebook post she made announcing her plans to sell around six months ago, and so – while she has fielded a few calls from people interested in purchasing the business – she said it’s too soon to say what the end result will be.
Beck isn’t sure what she will do after selling She Takes The Cake Café, but did say it is unlikely she’ll run another coffee shop on her own.
“I’m an entrepreneur at heart,” she said. “I think, whatever I do, it will involve seeing people and dealing with people from day to day, because that’s just what I like to do.”