Kathleen Edwards, the owner of Quitters on Stittsville Main, is featured in the Toronto Star today.
It’s a chilly mid-November afternoon, and the floor-to-ceiling windows facing out onto the downtrodden historic main street of this small-town-turned-exurb are frosted over with condensation. Inside, though, warmth all around: Small groups cluster under the glow of Edison bulbs, seated on vintage-shop furniture. Edwards is cheery and upbeat, serving top-notch espresso and home-made cookies and muffins, which she’s taken to baking herself.
…Quitters, which opened in September, isn’t so much an ending as a beginning. Edwards needed to push reset, and out here, just a short stretch from where she grew up, she’s done that much. After years of living gig to gig in tour buses and vans, Edwards walks five blocks to the café every morning to bake muffins and get ready for the day.
…One day, she happened on an old, unremarkable box of a building on Stittsville’s main street, with ratty blinds pulled down and moldy insulation tumbling out of the ceiling. “And I could see it. I knew it would be great,” she says. Signing a lease, she gamely hoisted a sledgehammer herself and started ripping apart the old to make way for the new.
… Edwards knew she had to do something different. She circled back home and looked around. Subdivisions and strip malls, commuters and anonymity. For the first time in ages, she had time to think. And what her mind settled on was building something solid, in a community of which she could be part.
… “I’m an excellent barista,” she laughs. “I had to realize: Fame is not acceptance, it doesn’t validate you as a person. It means nothing. You know what means something? Having people from the neighbourhood come in, getting to know them, seeing their families, and hearing them say ‘thank you for giving us a place to go.’ That’s . . . awesome.”
Read the article here…