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Station: coffee with Dan Berard
If you live in Cowichan and are an avid coffee drinker, then Coffee on the Moon needs no introduction. However, if you’ve managed to live here without visiting this downtown institution, then listen up.
Known for its funky décor, local art, and eclectic clientele, Coffee on the Moon offers a brilliantly made cup of coffee along with a relaxing, community-oriented vibe. Looking for new friends? This is the place to go.
This month, we sat down with owner Dan Berard to find out what his favourite coffee drink is, how he spends his free time, and why he doesn’t need a bucket list.
How long have you lived in Cowichan?
What brought you here to the valley?
I was working with the Ministry of Forests and I transferred here from Bella Coola. The Cowichan Valley was one of the most desirable places to move to at that time. The position came up here, and I was also into biking and the outdoors so it was a good move.
What are your favourite memories of living in the valley?
The small community feel I’ve had since opening up the shop. The people, the outdoors aspect, the biking and the river trails, and the proximity to larger centres are all great things about living here.
What made you get into the business of opening a coffee shop?
The Duncan ministry office I was working for was downsizing and so I took a payout. At the time I was spending a lot of time in coffee shops around the province and enjoyed them and thought it was the type of thing I could get into. I opened The Moon in the spring of 1997. It will be 17 years this spring!
What makes Coffee on the Moon special?
It’s about a good cup of coffee, but it’s also about the variety of people we attract too. The atmosphere, and community feel good here. It’s comfortable, and people come to meet each other here.
Where did you come up with the name, “Coffee on the Moon”?
I was talking with one of my sisters who lives in New Zealand and she mentioned she would love to have a coffee shop called ‘The Moon’. I thought it was catchy but it had to have the word ‘coffee’ in there too.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
The interaction with people. When people go for coffee, they’re often going for their treat of the day so they’re generally in an upbeat mood. It’s nice to feed off of that energy.
What does the future hold for you and Coffee on the Moon?
I want to stay on top of things and sustain the business. We’re now getting more into social media with Facebook and Twitter, which my wife, Lee-Ann, does a great job of.
What is your current passion?
Right now, I’m really enjoying the great fitness classes at the community centre.
What is on your bucket list?
I don’t have one! I like the simple things. I think that if we didn’t live in an area where you can ride some of the best trails year-round, cycle on quiet country roads, play golf, and go to the river I would actually have one, but we really do have it all — not to mention the great wineries and coffee spots.
What do you do in your spare time?
I enjoy watching my son play hockey and my daughter (play) field hockey, also walking the dog along the river trails with my wife, Lee-Ann.
What is your coffee drink of choice?
Triple shot Americano, short on the water. No cream or sugar!
If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?
I’d probably be at the Ministry of Forests and be close to retirement. It was a great job. I enjoyed it and was there for about 15 years.
What advice would you give to someone opening a business or new coffee shop?
Become knowledgable about the industry you’re about to go into. Talk to owners, check out other shops, ask lots of questions and seek honesty.
— Eliza Faulkner