In business for a year and a half, the people of Abbotsford have discovered that Oldhand, which got its start at Jam in Jubilee, is part of the cultural wave surging through the valley.
Owners Johannes and Kristina van Bommel van Vloten have crafted a warm and inviting second home to many mainstay customers. It’s not uncommon to see people spend countless hours at Oldhand, making the place their own temporary office. It’s just as common to find people reading, and of course, socializing. Oldhand has no pretense about it. It’s a beautifully designed shop where people can enjoy delicious coffee, alcoholic delights, and baked goods.
Inside, you find yourself consumed with an ambiance of flowing indie music, warm lighting, antique decorations, white and blue painted beach house features, as well as church pew seating. At any time, a game of Settlers of Catan could break out. It’s a relaxed atmosphere and Kristina and Johannes are the kind of people who know each of their customers by name.
Things are soon to change. Johannes and Kristina already have a two-year old daughter, and joining them any day will be another. To coincide, at the end of August, Oldhand will be moving from their location at the corner of Clearbrook and South Fraser Way to Downtown Abbotsford. To say the least, it’s a busy time.
Given their personal backgrounds of managing bakeries and coffee shops in Vancouver, the challenges are nothing they can’t manage. The move itself isn’t one of necessity, as they’ve proven that they are a destination location, but it’s more a move to provide better service to more people, and in a way that allows them to fully realize their vision.
In fact, the new location isn’t a totally new idea. They’re moving to 2617 Pauline Street, a place they had eyed up years ago when the idea of Oldhand was still in the conception stage.
As much as people enjoy coming out to their location now, many of their customers do come from east Abbotsford. Re-establishing their home on that side of town will be a positive move for many. And not only will the bring them closer to a large percentage of their customers, but it will also cement them in the downtown with other like-minded young businesses.
Kristina says that “just being close to those businesses that we’re already communicating with, they’re all right there. It’s kind of nice to be in that hub. It’s like the one sort of city centre part of Abbotsford that we’re excited about.”
It’s true that Downtown is where the excitement’s at. And while other similar businesses, such as Duft and Co. are already established there, neither business sees each other as competition. It’s actually the opposite. They see it as strengthening the area by having great businesses located there; it’s a win-win for everybody. No longer will people be driving just to Oldhand on one end of town, but they’ll now go to Oldhand in conjunction with every other business on the strip.
In less than a month, Oldhand will take the next step in its journey.