At Urban Sprout, they offer far more than their fresh, organic menu.
It’s a business with a lot of heart.
It all started last summer, when Laura Jenson-Praat and her daughter Olivia spent the day in Ruth & Naomi’s community garden, painting the tool shed as their contribution to Paint the Town.
As they packed up to head home, they were inspired by a string of rather uninspiring vacant commercial spaces on the opposite side of Yale Road.
Just like that, a bold family business endeavour was the answer to one simple, yet essential question, “What can we do here?”
They decided to open a cafe, one bursting with creativity in cuisine, design and perspective.
With a repertoire of holistic, organic recipes built up over three decades, Laura worked with her culinary-inclined son James to develop a fresh menu.
Olivia, a current CSS student, painted murals and revamped the collection thrift store furniture. Her step-sister Megan, a UFV business student, applied her growing wealth of academic knowledge to lay out a financial plan.
“The best way to teach young people how to do business is to put them smack dab in the centre of it,” Laura revealed. Each of her children have taken on integral roles in the operation of the business, and they work in the cafe when it fits within their academic schedules.
“The historic district is the heart of Chilliwack,” Megan explained. “Being here is really important to us. We want to bring more light and colour to the city.”
“And we want that to spill out onto the streets,” Olivia added. In a literal sense, they plan to add a few sidewalk tables in the summer, but they hope to spread vibrancy in a figurative sense as well.
The community board on the entry wall to the cafe reads,”If it’s not happening, make it happen.” This family is passionate about civic engagement, and they want their cafe to heighten and inspire collaboration, conversation, artistic exploration and action in the community.
“We didn’t realize how much we were needed in the city until we opened our doors,” Laura explained.
Since opening in January, they’ve received a warm welcome from regulars who seek out responsible cuisine, and the downtown passersby who stop in for a healthy smoothie.
The menu is comprised of organically produced, farm-to-table ingredients. Pure, fresh-pressed juices are named by their natural colour. Wholesome ingredients form wraps, sandwiches and salads. Unique flavours create healthy desserts.
“Serving the healthy food, and seeing peoples’ faces light up when they try it,” Megan said. “I love every second of it.”
They’re also making a quiet name for themselves as an intimate entertainment venue, hosting poetry and acoustic nights in the front alcove of the cafe.
And the colourful walls, eclectic art, mismatched furniture pieces, and the scent of Frits Praat’s fresh flowers allow every patron to feel at home.
Pop in to Urban Sprout at 46144 Yale Road. Check out their menu online at urbansprout.ca.