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Nanaimo coffee shop set to re-open, a month and a half after ‘shock’ of homicide

79-year-old employee killed in what RCMP called a “random” incident Feb. 13
Buzz Coffee House, the scene of a “random” homicide last month, is set to re-open on Saturday, March 26. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)

A Nanaimo coffee shop is ready to get back to pouring cups of joe a month and a half after a shocking homicide happened there.

Buzz Coffee House will re-open Saturday, March 26.

The café was the scene of a homicide Feb. 13, when a 79-year-old employee was killed in what RCMP called a “random” incident.

“Right after, we didn’t know what we were going to do or what we were OK doing, but eventually you get kind of tired of laying around feeling sorry…” said Phil Baker, co-owner of Buzz Coffee House. “We’re kind of over the shock; now we need to get moving again.”

He expressed thanks to the community support that Buzz received in the days and weeks after the incident. He said lots of people have been asking when the business will re-open, and said this week, while workers have been inside preparing for the re-opening, customers have been knocking on the windows trying to get in.

“The community support really drove home for us why we were in the business in the first place, and that’s the people,” Baker said.

On Saturday there will be a ceremony with Snuneymuxw elder Lolly Good before the coffee shop opens, and Baker anticipates a lot of conversations. There are some new employees in the kitchen and front of house who will be training, but a lot of “returning faces,” too.

Baker said the attitudes of Buzz employees was “definitely” a factor in decisions around re-opening.

“We had a few of the team say they didn’t really know what they would do otherwise. They really enjoyed working here and that was kind of my sentiment, too,” he said. “We had some staff that don’t think they’ll be able to return and that’s totally OK, I understand. We weren’t too sure how we’d feel the first time back in.”

The past few days have been a bit hectic, he said, but the shop is ready to get the coffee brewing again. Saturday’s hours are 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

“Hopefully we’ll do well and then we’ll see what the future holds,” Baker said.

James Carey Turok faces second-degree murder charges related to the death of Eric Kutzner. The case is before the courts and Turok’s next appearance is April 11.

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About the Author: Greg Sakaki

I have been in the community newspaper business for two decades, all of those years with Black Press Media.
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