The Woodrack Cafe - YEG Community Highlight

Emma Hutchinson
February 21, 2019

Who doesn’t love a great cup of coffee!? The Woodrack Cafe is so much more than great coffee and food! We got the pleasure of speaking with owners Kristy Arnholtz and Melissa Measures to learn more about their business.

Check Out the Full Video Below:

Where did The Woodrack Cafe start?
The Woodrack Cafe all started on a girls' weekend in Nordegg. Owners Kristy Arnholtz and Melissa Measures we’re out kayaking on what happened to be one of the windiest days of their trip. On the kayaking trip hey we're collecting the driftwood that had been washing up and stacking it on their kayaks as they went. That weekend through many conversations Kristy and Melissa had decided that they wanted to start a cafe. Once they had returned to the city, they decided that these ideas they had come up with on the girls' weekend were worth pursuing. After tossing around many names, they remembered the driftwood on their kayaks and that is how “The Woodrack Cafe” name came to be.

How long have you been in business?
6 years

What brought you into the coffee space?
Woodrack cafe was born out of a desire to LOVE every day and love what you do for work. Both owners were at a funny point in their careers and on their girls' weekend discussed the dream of going to work each day and loving what they do. They wanted to create a space where everyone was comfortable, and it could be that “third-space” where people would feel at home. Kristy and Melissa wanted the Cafe to feel like you are sitting at the table at your grandma's house where you just feel safe and comfortable. All of the recipes are taken from Kristy and Melissa’s mothers and grandmothers to bring that extra homey touch.

How has Edmonton received your concept?
Edmonton has been very welcoming. Once someone has come in and tried The Woodrack Cafe, they become a regular. The loyalty is amazing. By incorporating the vintage style it makes the space feel like a paused moment in type which people thoroughly enjoy.

How has COVID affected your business? How have you had to pivot?
COVID has had a huge impact on Woodrack’s business. Anyone in hospitality would tell you that it’s impossible to navigate the challenges that the pandemic has caused. There is so much that has changed. When COVID first started, Woodrack was out hand-delivering coffees to people’s doors. They managed to push through by being resourceful. The community at The Woodrack Cafe is truly what has saved them. While sales may be down, that doesn’t mean Woodrack is going anywhere. They are holding strong and happy to see everyone's smiling faces when they come in.

How has Turnip helped your business feel safe?
The cameras and alerts are amazing. The door chime has been a game-changer for Woodrack’s staff. Being able to know when someone enters the building even when you're in the back is amazing. With the cameras, door locks, and other equipment Turnip has installed, all of the staff at Woodrack have peace of mind. With COVID, there is only ever one staff member working at a time, so being able to know what is going on in the building and also knowing that all doors are secure makes a huge difference.

Tell Us About the “Because of Her” Sweaters you are both wearing?
These sweaters were bought from The Skinny, from Erin Trebackiewics. She is the owner. All of the proceeds go to the Canadian Women's Foundation. She is truly an inspiration.

How has it been working together with your best friend?
Against many people’s advice of not working with your best friend, the owners of Woodrack have made it work! They have been through thick and thin together. The best part of it is being able to combine both your business partner and your best friend. Kristy and Melissa have different strengths and weaknesses and are stronger for it. The best part of it is the ability to wholeheartedly trust the person you're working with.

Why should someone come to The Woodrack Cafe?
Supporting local is huge, especially with what is going on. They offer a unique product and they also offer a safe space for anyone to come to. Supporting local is important because each locally-owned establishment adds color to the patchwork quilt that is our city. It offers variety outside of the big-box chains. Do not just come to Woodrack, but go to all local businesses. Support your local community and share the love.

Check out their website here!