In a recent Facebook post, Serenplicity in Ormstown announced that as of January 2023, it will be dissolving the café portion of the store. For now, it is still operating as usual, and there are big plans for the next part of the journey.
Mary Sullivan, one of Serenplicity’s owners, explains that there were multiple factors that went into the decision to shut down the café. For one, the staffing crisis has affected them, and trying to manage both sides of the store was challenging for just her and her business partner.
“We were both kind of burning ourselves out,” she says. Sullivan cares a lot about her staff and puts a lot of thought into who will be there to greet you when you walk through the doors. “It’s important to me that I have staff that has the same personality that I do: outgoing, warm, friendly, beyond courteous – a real people person. That’s my number one.” This also means that she feels connected to her staff and works hard to make sure they can prioritize their families; as a result, scheduling can be a puzzle. Transitioning to running only the retail part of the store will enable the two owners to manage it by themselves.
Sullivan also mentions that “The clincher was the fact that these food prices [are rising] at kind of alarming rates.” Running the café was becoming more and more expensive, especially with the kinds of ingredients they pride themselves on using: “Our first priority is to be able to offer people food that is made with very good ingredients (farm eggs, real butter) so that everything is not just tasty and good-looking but made with the best ingredients we could possibly offer.” She explains that “We’d have to bring up our prices quite high … it just didn’t feel right to me.”
For now, the shutting down of the café is permanent, but Sullivan says, “I’ve matured to the point where I never say ‘never’.” So, the café could potentially return one day; however, at this time, she is comfortable saying that it is gone for good.
Sullivan hopes to return to hosting workshops like they used to offer when the store first opened; previously, many activities including soap making, beeswax-wrap making, and bath-bomb crafting were offered.
She says they also want to expand and start offering products in other venues as well. They currently have items at Fermes Valens and Quinn Farms, and they say they would love to have partnerships with other folks too. Sullivan also emphasizes that “Doing fundraisers for schools and organizations are important moving forward, along with community support.”