Andy Cook, past owner of the now closed Davie Village Central (DVC) says his management skills had little to do with the café’s recent closure and claims the failure of his business lies mostly on the shoulders of the city.
“It was managed as good as it could be managed. It was so difficult with city hall that it delayed opening for seven months,” says Cook.
“The city is a disaster for business,” he claims. “They have no empathy for anybody. They don’t realize stalling a week —there’s a lease to pay.”
Cook claims the city’s strict regulations concerning barbecues on patios and signage variance cost him time and revenue as the process slowed the café’s opening and, he claims, put him in financial peril from the beginning.
But Barb Windsor, chief licensing inspector for the city, says the city was just doing its job.
She says license inspectors adhere to strict regulations to ensure that buildings are up to code.
“He was changing the use of space from retail to restaurant so he had to go through a permit process,” Windsor explains. “Maybe he didn’t expect that it was going to be as much [work] as it was.”
Cook says the café was never meant to be a money-making venture. He says he opened the DVC to offer the gay community a unique space in which to gather, different from the typical Davie St pub or club.
In the last few months, the DVC has hosted regular parties for bears, leathermen, the Pacific Canadian Association of Nudists, and the Average Joes group for HIV-positive gay men.
“I’m going to do everything it takes to open up again,” Cook says. “I’m going to try to find somebody to invest some money. The community needs it.”
However, Cook says he can’t own the café anymore. The DVC website is listing the space for sale at $100,000.