First day at French Press...
The date to officially take over the business in Qualicum Beach was soon upon us and I found myself yet again investing funds with our friends at Air Transat and enjoying a merry jaunt from Manchester to Vancouver. Hannah still had a week left to work and would be joining me a couple of weeks later with Albie-Jack. Denman Island was our temporary base and as I waited in line for the ferry, with at least a modicum of trepidation, I wondered what my first day at French Press would bring. I knew next to nothing about how this business was run, so the policy was to use the 2-week handover period to learn how they did things, whether I was in agreement or not. The business was a food focused enterprise and not necessarily a destination specialty coffee place. I was very keen to retain the quality driven food offerings in addition to expanding our coffee credentials. I had only ever started companies before and never bought one, so I decided the most prudent move would be to avoid sweeping changes and change things incrementally. In doing so, I could broaden the business and hopefully avoid alienating the existing customer base. The 2 weeks past relatively quickly and I soon had to go back to the UK to deal with the company that was shipping our belongings to Canada and move us out of our rental accommodation.
Since we had sold our house to friends and were living in a rental, a lot of our goods and chattels were being kindly stored in my brother James’ high-tech storage facility. More precisely put, a dilapidated garage, with a barely functioning door located on a piece of wasteland on the edge of a housing estate. This made the moving process marginally easier and when the movers arrived, they completed the process with almost alarming alacrity. In the time it might take me to pop out for a few minutes, the contents of a whole room was wrapped, boxed and quickly deposited onto the truck. I learned to my cost just how quickly these guys move, when I intercepted a phone call. In the time it takes to say to a tele sales person ‘sod off, I don’t want to buy whatever you’re selling etc…’ the lightning quick movers had packed up the contents of our bedroom, including all my overnight kit for my trip back to Canada! ‘Where is it?’ I asked ‘In there’ they said, pointing to the deepest darkest recesses of a huge truck full of boxes. As I waved goodbye to our belongings, hoping to see them again at some point I contemplated the magnitude of the decision to move to the other side of the world. This in-depth and weighty contemplation lasted all of 47 seconds, because I had to get the house cleaned, meet the landlord and extricate our deposit from him, hopefully without the need for menaces.
The next day menace free, I boarded a train to London, armed with Grant Lawrence’s ‘Adventures in Solitude’ and my passport to avail myself of yet another unparalleled opportunity to invest in Air Transat and join the family in British Columbia to start our Canadian adventure in earnest.