It wasn’t that long ago that Lydia and Joost Van Campen, who moved to Springford three years ago, were hoping to open a Dutch products store in the area.
When they discovered Nectar Coffee and Bar in Tillsonburg was on the market, their plans changed and they purchased the business from Jennifer McLaughlin, with Lydia as the primary new owner.
Now they can have both, featuring products from their Dutch heritage and “an opportunity for people to gather.”
“Our main goal is to get people together,” Joost explained.
“A nice place for rest,” said Lydia.
“A social bar,” Joost nodded. “You can call it a social bar, not loud music. People can gather together, they can do board games, they can talk to each other… and just relax.”
“And they do,” said Lydia.
The new hours are Monday and Tuesday 8-5, Wednesday-Friday 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., and closed Sundays.
“We do it as a family and we want to serve the community, as much as we can, as a family,” said Joost, who also has a full-time job at Schep’s Bakeries in Norwich.
“We have two sons and two daughters and yes, we do it as a family,” said Lydia.
You won’t find any news broadcasts or live sports on their large-screen TVs – on Saturday the TVs looked like large-screen fireplaces.
The breakfast menu at Nectar Coffee and Bar, with bagels, egg bites, breakfast sandwiches, croissants, has been extended, and they plan to add even more.
Lunches include grilled cheese, soups, salads and sandwiches, with gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan options.
They will be adding several Dutch specialties, including stroopwaffel, croquettes and frikandel.
Beverages range from coffees, cappuccino, lattes, iced coffee, tea and tea lattes and steamers, as well as wine and five craft beers.
Dining is available indoors or outdoors with a roofed patio.
“The official purchase date is Oct. 1,” said Joost, noting Nectar Coffee and Bar actually reopened the week of Sept. 16 with a soft opening.
“We had about a week and a half to prepare. So they said we’ll help you to open up.”
Both Lydia and Joost admitted they didn’t know what to expect when the doors opened for the first time since the COVID-19 government-mandated closure in the spring.
“This is the first time we have had a coffee bar,” said Lydia.
“And it’s still COVID time,” said Joost. “It’s like diving into deep water, you don’t know.”
They do have entrepreneurial experience, both here in Canada and in the Netherlands. In March they started selling homemade pizzas.
“We were looking to extend the pizza business and then all of a sudden we fell into this opportunity. This is a full, established place. So we said it’s really worth keeping it and maybe we can add some Dutch products.”