When Corrie Corfield opened the Dogtown Coffee Co. in Okanagan Falls with her husband Chris, she wasn’t ready to make big expansion plans.
“The idea of having a shop in a city was terrifying to me,” said Corfield.
“Now we have been doing it for two years, I thought the challenge of being in a place like Penticton would be really great.”
Dogtown opened its Penticton location this week, taking over the former Smith & Co. building near Winnipeg Street and Westminster Avenue in downtown Penticton.
“We have been in here for the past month, scrubbing and painting and putting our stamp on everything,” said Corfield. Customers, she said, have responded enthusiastically.
“We are being slammed busy every day, it’s a really good response,” she said.
Along with purveying local and fresh-made products, Corfield said she is bringing her goals of quality, inspiration and community to the new location, and trying to recreate the atmosphere of the OK Falls location.
“There are places you can go where you can get a quick cup of coffee. We’re not one of those places,” is how she described the original Dogtown, a “little coffee shop and a place where people can come and feel at home and be inspired.”
The idea quickly spread through the community, and Corfield soon found herself with regular groups visiting: moms coming in with their babies to chat over morning coffee, seniors enjoying breakfast, work crews stopping in between jobs. Corfield said she intended to work on replicating that in the Penticton, but found it happening all by itself.
“I have a group of moms that are going to be meeting here and we have different cycling groups and whatnot,” she said, explaining that as soon as people heard Dogtown was opening in Penticton, they began contacting her. “Every day I have another group coming in and asking if they can use space. With the presence we have had through social media and the different things that have happened in the past two years, I think people are learning who we are and they are really excited to come and see us here.”
“The whole way it fell into place was kind of amazing,” said Corfield, describing how just days after she and her husband had decided to expand, word came that Smith and Co. was going to be closing its doors and looking for someone to take over the space.
“It snowballed from there and turned into this amazing thing,” she said. “It is one of those situations that you know are meant to be. Not necessarily what we were looking for, but it was in our minds we would like to see that expansion happen.”
The menu has changed a little but will remain the same in both locations with the addition of a full-time baker adding a bit more selection for baked goodies.
Corfield will also be carrying on her tradition of live music, though on a larger scale than the jam sessions that became a regular weekly event in OK Falls.
“The problem in OK Falls is we didn’t have the space to do any more than what we were already doing. Now we have the big huge room in the back with a stage and sound equipment,” said Corfield. She’s already booked Christopher Ford from Vancouver for a show on April 14, and a students from the music programs at Penticton and Princess Margaret Secondary under the direction of Don Grant have already asked to perform monthly.
“I am just open. If a group or somebody wants to do something I am open to ideas: musicians, comedians, inspirational speakers, that kind of thing,” she said.
Last fall, Corfield and Dogtown gained international exposure when the OK Falls café was named one of six semi-finalists in the western region of the America’s Best Coffeehouse Competition.