Kam Taha doesn’t claim to know everything, but the things he does know, he really knows, like business.
“I’m a business man,” explained Taha from inside downtown Chilliwack’s newest coffee shop, Esteem Coffee House. “My whole idea was to improve this corner because of the reputation it used to have … and that it would be a good (business) move for everybody.”
Although he’s located in Vancouver’s Yaletown, Taha not only sees the value in Chilliwack real estate, but in the community itself. “I drove through 20 years ago and there wasn’t much here to be excited about, Chilliwack was dead … but I’ve changed my mind now that I’ve gotten to know the community.”
Having purchased the building at 9260 Young St. almost two years ago, Taha has spend the past year-and-a-half renovating the two-storey structure from its derelict past to its current state, which is clean and modern.
“This building needed a face lift, and (I thought a) place like this in downtown would be a good thing for everybody,” said Taha. “This building was in bad shape, but now we have families with kids walking by.”
And while Taha admits the renos obviously improved the value of his property, he points out they have also improved the look of Chilliwack’s downtown. “My building has improved the property value (and looks) of the entire downtown. I think the whole idea will improve this community.”
Open from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, Esteem Coffee House offers top quality specialty drinks at an affordable cost, as well as a variety of delicious desserts and baked goods. “We have the sorts of drinks you can’t get in (other cafes).”
But maybe that’s because they have specialized staff, says Taha. “I have hired a barista who’s specialized in making specialty drinks … and our breakfasts are made in-store with quality ingredients.
“It’s like a bonus for downtown Chilliwack,” explained Taha, who likes to hire staff that are located near downtown to maintain that connection to the community.
“Now there are even more options when it comes to coffee and dining,” because attached to the other side of Esteem is Flame, a full-service restaurant also owned by Taha.
“Flame offers a unique, simple menu,” said the business-owner. “But we make all our foods from scratch, offer daily specials, and comfort food. The feedback on our porchetta is excellent.”
And in addition to regular seating, Flame offers a space in the back for private gatherings.
“Overall, we’re seeing good return business because we’re delivering good customer service in a family-friendly atmosphere,” continued Taha.
To learn more about Esteem Coffee House, or Flame, Taha invites Chilliwack residents to call them at 604-251-7701, or stop by 9260 Young St. to try one of their daily specials or to inquire how they can cater your events.