The Garden Herb Shop of Canal Winchester sowed the seeds of success for its sister business, the Harvest Moon Café.
Husband and wife owners, Kelley and Nathan Doerfler, first opened the Garden Herb Shop four years ago.
Two years ago, the time came to expand, which led to their purchase of what was then called the Harvest Moon Coffee Shop.
“We started out down the street with the herb shop,” Nathan Doerfler said. “We’d been customers of the coffee shop for 10 years or more. When we realized we needed to expand, we talked to the previous owners about renting some of the space. However, they didn’t want to rent it; they wanted to sell the whole business to us.”
Their decision to buy led the couple to growing two unique but intertwined businesses.
“Our main intent was to grow the herb shop more than getting into the food business,” he said. “That began after I’d suffered some side effects from regular medicine and we started looking a little further into alternatives. Soon we found we weren’t alone in our alternative health care needs, so we decided to provide that for people.”
An interest in providing “well-researched, natural and organic health products,” guided the revamped Harvest Moon Café business as well, he said.
“We didn’t want to keep it as just the coffee house, so we changed the name to café and went item by item to see how we could change the menu to use ingredients without preservatives, that are all natural, or local and organic,” Nathan said. “We felt we could fill that demand in the community, so one of our keys to success has been listening to our customers — even though it meant becoming a niche business.”
Recently, the interior of the building at 7 N. High St. in Canal Winchester underwent a makeover, using several local craftsmen to create a new bar area in the café and to revamp the herb shop shelving to allow for more inventory. A new outdoor patio is currently being constructed.
“Customers have always been able to purchase wine through the herb shop and asked to have an option for drinking it here in the café,” Nathan said. “We were lucky that a liquor license became available to us, so we wanted to make sure and do it right, with as healthy and creative cocktails as we could provide.
“Cris Dehlavi created our drink menu using our own simple syrups and no pre-mixers or other artificially made ingredients. Almost all of our beers are local to Ohio.”
Nathan said the cocktails, like the food, may take slightly longer to prepare, but the quality is there and customers appreciate that.
He said creativity and flair are things that are only really available at a local business, and supporting the local community is important.
“We think it’s very important to put money back into the community and we support a local approach,” he said. “The more money put back into a community, the more it can thrive. We pay Jarrod, our social media guy, to also take pictures of the other stores in downtown and support them. Showing all the neat options you have here means ultimately, more people will come downtown.
“So we believe, let’s just bring more people to our community and promote us all. That brings more people through the door. That type of cross-promotion has been very successful for us.”
More information about the Garden Herb Shop and Harvest Moon Café is available online at www.hm-cafe.com.