A pop-up coffee shop and café built with a stack of shipping containers near the beach at Royal Bay is a sign of what’s to come for one of the capital region’s largest urban developments, says the mayor of Colwood.
Rob Martin said Sequoia Coffee’s soft opening this week is just the start of a flood of new business activity in the sprawling Royal Bay site.
He expects to announce a major grocery store next month and other potential businesses and office spaces early next year, adding to the millions in major projects already announced by Seaspan Shipyards, the Royal B.C. Museum and the school district, which is planning a new elementary school.
Sequoia Coffee, a partnership between Truffles Group and Sam Jones’ 2% Jazz Coffee, received a temporary-use permit for up to three years from Colwood council to build the coffee shop at 365 Latoria Blvd.
GableCraft Homes, one of the major developers at Royal Bay, built the café using three shipping containers — two units sitting parallel and the third perched on top — while its commercial village called Royal Bay Commons awaits construction.
Truffles spokesman Jeff Wright said Sequoia Coffee is designed as an outdoor enterprise with drive-through and walk-up windows and outdoor seating, serving coffees, lunches and snacks. “The whole premise is convenience,” he said. “And it’s COVID-friendly.”
Sequoia opened its first location in the Royal B.C. Museum. Truffles Group is a Victoria-based company that also owns Cascadia Liquor stores, the Canoe Brew Pub and Butterfly Gardens.
Colwood Coun. Gordie Logan said the community wanted a coffee shop and gathering space, and Sequoia’s unique design makes it stand out.
“You sure don’t see many coffee shops popping up in sea cans,” said Logan. “We liked this approach. It’s unique.
“We see it as a neighbourhood focal point, a safe gathering place. It’s been one of the things the community has been asking us to have.”
Logan said Sequoia also “checks all the boxes” as a local company that sources in the community, hires locally and serves a community need.
Wright said some kinks are still being worked out at the operation before an official opening this month.
About 5,000 new homes are planned for Royal Bay, a former gravel pit near the Metchosin border.
Colwood’s growing population of about 17,000 is predicted to reach 26,500 by 2038.