With Jonathan & Lee—Nelson the Seagull / nelsontheseagull.com
Many of you may know of Nelson: that gem of a place on Carrall with the charming front-door patio, open bright and early and comfortable to stop by for a couple hours any given afternoon. If you’ve been inside you would have noticed the eclectic interiors full of collected vintage objects, furniture and frames. What you may not know, is that Lee, one of the partners photographed a lot of the art work herself, and that the cabinet beside the service area has transformed into a community mailbox.
Creative and resourceful in their own right, as well as their offerings, the sibling partner-duo, Jonathan and Lee are commonly known for their rustic sourdough bread and unfailing quality coffee. That said, bread wasn’t always part of the plan. In looking for space to accommodate a small new coffee spot, they fell in love with a much larger space than necessary, and figured why not take on the task of learning to make bread? And not just any bread, but the best quality sourdough available in Vancouver.
A cupcake oven, which was recoiled 7 times and destroyed, much hand kneading, and a traditional bakers trough—built by Lee—later, they now have a proper mixer to aid in the process and a pizza oven, all part of the evolving quest to deliver perfection. Just as adaptive and committed they are on the bread side of the business, this carries forward to their refreshing approach to small business and community needs. Lee puts it pretty simply: “What does the community want? This is a question we should all be asking as modern-day small community businesses…wifi is a current topic, and as many designers/freelancers don’t have offices, we need to be progressive and our space(s) accommodating. As personal spaces are scaling down, public spaces need to open up.”
Although not soley coffee-focused as originally thought, the folks at Nelson are committed to serving and rotating the best of the best beans available locally, which is where the importance of like-minded partnerships comes in: “….Connecting with other local companies and brands that do their thing really well, ups the education and taste of the community and meanwhile gets them drinking and eating all over the place. Vancouver is a necessity of numbers, its kind of like a town, where collaboration is key and mutually conducive. It’s similar to a place like Portland, where restaurants will recommend their neighbours. It’s genuine exposure,” Lee concludes.
What next for Nelson? Jonathan says they’re constantly executing projects to perfect their bread, or “silent third partner,” further. 3ND