Linda Tanner, the Elephant’s Ear cafe in-house baker and manager for the past year, starts making the coffee shop’s banana bread on the morning of August 1. (Brittany Gervais photo)

Elephant’s Ear cafe closing mid-August

Several economic factors played into decision to sell, says owner

The Elephant’s Ear Coffee Shop and Fine Foods will be closing its doors August 15 after almost eleven years in the community.

The cafe first opened in 2008 and has hosted weekly open-mic nights and community events, and was used as a venue for local politicians visiting the area. Owner Lance Dettwiler said financial and social economics in the past couple years have led to his decision to close.

“There’s been more competition coming in, which is a good thing… but that just kind of divided the population of the town for where people wanted to go,” he said over the phone.

Dettwiler made the decision to close the Elephant’s Ear a year and a half ago after the cafe saw a 20 per cent drop in business overall. He put the coffee shop and property up for sale in late March.

In addition to new competition, he said the combination of a drop in tourism from the fishing bans and smoke damage from the Northcoast Anglers fire made it too costly to keep the cafe open.

READ MORE: Salmon closures a devastating blow to businesses

“This year has been really tight,” Dettwiler said.

“We’re just paying bills, paying employees. Kept it going for the employees that were there, and just started looking for options to change and move on.”

Dettwiler moved from Terrace to Kamloops last year and now manages another cafe there. His mother, Linda Tanner, who is the cafe’s in-house baker, was able to step in as manager when he left.

The 2,640 square-foot building will be available to rent September 1 if it doesn’t sell before then. So far, no potential buyers have emerged to take over the business or the property but Dettwiler said he hopes it will continue as a coffee shop or a diner.

“That block there is the only quaint little block in Terrace and people would walk down it and whatnot; we had a lot of Europeans come in for espressos,” he said, mentioning that the cafe has the only manual espresso machine in town.

The shop will be open during Riverboat Days and will be closed to the public Aug. 15. But their weekly open mic-nights will continue on Wednesdays, with the last one scheduled for Aug. 29.

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