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Business Journal: Backhome Coffee feels like home…and smells delicious

The downtown coffee house celebrates its first anniversary this week
Brenda Chapeskie (L) and Manager Emily Poster at Backhome Coffee.

Backhome Coffee owner Brenda Chapeskie has been in the coffee business for a lot longer than the one-year her Sarnia venture is turning.

“I’ve been on the West Coast since forever…I’ve been roasting coffee out there for close to 25 years,” Chapeskie tells the Journal.

Born and raised in Sarnia, Chapeskie made the move back home after her mother fell ill.

“I came home to take care of her and she said, ‘Honey will you please promise me you’ll come back home?’ And I went, 'Mom I’ve been out there forever.’…I think she just worried about me being out there alone,” says Chapeskie.

And from that, Backhome Coffee was born.

“After I settled all her estate and everything else, I was like, 'maybe I should at least try.' And then I thought I should take my coffee to the East because everyone has loved it in the West for 25 years. Hence the name Backhome Coffee.”

Everything served is made in-house — pastries, pies, soups, panninis, their famous carrot cake – and even the coffee beans are roasted in the back in a large green machine which Chapeskie roasts every day.

“It’s been awesome. I can’t believe how it took off right away and kept growing and growing and growing. We’ve served close to 30,000 people already,” she says.

Already celebrating its first anniversary, it’s not hard to see why the coffee shop has served that many people over its first year. The ambiance, the staff, the baked goods, and the coffee are all anyone can talk about and word of mouth has been beneficial for the business.

And now on May 15, the business is celebrating with the people who helped make it successful.

“We’ve got someone coming in a big dragon suit walking up and down the street telling people to come in. I got a BBQ I’m putting out on the patio, so we are going to be cooking hamburgers and hotdogs. We’ve got some gifts to give away and if you’re the hundredth person we have a special gift for you,” explains Chapeskie.

An entrepreneur her whole life, Chapeskie says creating is her passion, and she started in the coffee industry with coffee carts moving on to eventually brick-and-mortar locations out West. But what makes this Sarnia location special, is that it’s home.

“Wherever you were born I think that you will always feel at home when you go back there no matter what — because you were born and raised there,” she says. “You can go to different cities and make it your home, but I’ve now discovered since being back here I feel it now, I feel that childhood stuff that you feel when you feel loved and safe and all those things. “I feel that here. I’m glad she [mom] said that before she passed away, I know she would be proud as anything.”

Backhome Coffee
Location: 112 Christina St. S.
Hours: Monday to Friday 7a.m. - 5 p.m.
Saturday 7am - 4pm

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