Mike and Corinna Robinson, owners of Lotic Environmental Ltd., and active members of various groups in the community, purchased the 101 Kootenay St. building in March of 2020. They have completed a top to bottom renovation of the building, with specific uses in mind.
The upper floor is a suite of modern office spaces to house their own business as well as to offer desks and offices to other small businesses.
“We have never had our own office space, we have always worked out of our home or other co-working spaces.” said Corinna. “When this building came up for sale we could instantly see the potential of moving our business upstairs and working with other like minded people.
“The space is beautiful and we are excited to add to our community’s already vibrant co-working scene. We also knew right away what our vision was for the main floor.”
“It had to be a market,” said Mike. “We love these types of stores we find in many other Kootenay communities and wanted to see something like that in our town.”
The Robinsons enlisted the help of local food entrepreneur Christel Hagn, co-founder and former director of Kootenay Soulfood Cooperative, to help bring the vision into fruition.
“This really is a shared vision,” said Hagn, who has been hired on as the general manager of the market and cafe. “If you know me and my partners, or read back through the history of Soulfood, what we really wanted at the beginning was to be a cafe, market and local food hub. The restaurant evolved out of our chef’s talent and what we felt our community was asking of us, but our dream has always been rooted in local food and community. This was a perfect fit for me.”
“We are calling the market Morchella Market and Cafe,” said Corinna. “The name comes from the latin word for morel mushrooms; a local delicacy that holds a special place for our family. We have wonderful memories morel picking as it evokes feelings of nature, a rustic sort of elegance, and community.”
The Robinsons and Hagn all have a shared vision for the market and cafe. It’s a one stop market where you can find anything from the everyday basics like toilet paper, to the random, one off specialty items that you can’t find anywhere else, like juniper berries.
“When I needed juniper berries to make a venison bone broth it was impossible to find anywhere in town, and I have experienced this with a number of items used in more adventurous recipes,” said Mike. “We know Cranbrook has food lovers looking to push their culinary skills and that’s why we need to get this store into our town.”
The cafe will have coffee, smoothies, sandwiches, rotisserie chicken and even gourmet hot dogs. “Everything will be grab and go, super fast for busy people. This is definitely fast food, ready to go,” says Hagn. “The market will also have meal kits for those nights when you want a good, home cooked meal but are starved on ideas.”
The co-working space, named the 101 Building, is now ready for occupancy and the planned opening for Morchella Market and Cafe is August, 2021.
“We can’t wait to bring this vision to our community,” said Corinna. “So many people are rooting for a business like this and we are so excited to help make it happen.”