Open for busi­ness

Keels’ one-stop shop now has a tea room

The Packet (Clarenville) - - Sports - BY MARK SQUIBB [email protected]­acket.ca

Peo­ple in Keels and sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties al­ready come to the Hu­bert and James Mesh

Store for their gro­ceries, house­hold sup­plies, knick­knacks and mail.

Now, they can stay for a cuppa’ tea as well.

Maudie’s Tea Room— named for the film ‘Maudie’, based on the life of folk artist Maud Lewis, which was par­tially filmed in Keels and the gen­eral store— opened its doors Nov. 16.

“It’s a place for peo­ple to come in and so­cial­ize. On this part of the penin­sula, there is no place like that, es­pe­cially dur­ing this time of year.”

- Selby Mesh

“We’ve had an ex­cel­lent re­sponse from lo­cals. Ev­ery­body seems to be quite sat­is­fied with the prod­uct we got,” said owner Selby Mesh, who in­her­ited the store from his fa­ther in 1980. “It’s a place for peo­ple to come in and so­cial­ize. On this part of the penin­sula, there is no place like that, es­pe­cially dur­ing this time of year.”

But open­ing the tea room didn’t come eas­ily.

Mesh ran into con­cerns with the in­stal­la­tion of a sewer sys­tem. The store sits on a rocky hill over­look­ing the ocean.

And while this means pa­trons can en­joy a beau­ti­ful ocean-side view from the tea room, it also cre­ated con­cern over where he might put in the sep­tic tank and distri­bu­tion field Ser­viceNL re­quired for him to open his busi­ness.

Mesh says he pro­posed other op­tions, in­clud­ing in­stalling a hold­ing tank that could be pumped out at the end of the sea­son, a sep­tic tank with a line to the ocean, (which Mesh says is just 200 feet away from the store) or even an in­cin­er­at­ing toi­let (a wa­ter­less toi­let that burns waste).

Even­tu­ally, Mesh says he in­stalled the sys­tem ap­proved by Ser­viceNL this past sum­mer— at a cost of about $15,000.

Mesh says work such as this is not only costly, but dif­fi­cult

“It’s dif­fi­cult for any­one try­ing to get into it,” he said. “Es­pe­cially in re­mote ar­eas like where we are, with the kind of ter­rain we have.”

But he says that en­trepreneurs look­ing to start a busi­ness or ex­pand needn’t be down­hearted or pes­simistic.

“If you re­ally want to do it, go for it. Be per­sis­tent,” he en­cour­aged.

He also thanked friends and the com­mu­nity for their sup­port.

The Hu­bert and James Mesh store first opened in 1954, and the cur­rent store build­ing has been in use since 1967.

MARK SQUIBB — THE PACKET

Selby Mesh re­cently opened Maudie’s Tea Room in Keels.

MARK SQUIBB — THE PACKET

Lo­cal artists are al­ready sell­ing their work in the tea room.

PACKET FILE PHOTO

The Hu­bert and James Mesh Store in Keels.

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