Perchance have you noticed a tea and coffee shop sprung up in Dunbar North in early April? This new business is steeped in character and serves up a welcoming atmosphere where customers can settle in over a beverage and a bite to eat while they chat, get lost in a book, study, play a board game or listen to music.
Hank Wang is Perchance’s general manager and he shares the story of how this charming café came to be.
Owner Evan Brown lived in Kerrisdale for the past decade but was relatively unfamiliar with neighbouring Dunbar. While driving by one day he noticed a for rent sign in the shop’s window.
Hank says, “The shop’s large windows and the surrounding community immediately attracted him. Evan pulled over and called the number on the sign. Though an empty shell, the space had high ceilings and great natural light. He spent a few hours exploring the neighbourhood and fell in love with the idea of having a shop here. He decided there and then and signed the rental contract that same afternoon. So, one could say that our location in Dunbar came about, very appropriately, by chance.”
They wanted to create a space that would fit into the community while also bringing something new of value.
Everything was repainted, new air conditioning was installed, and walls and sliding doors were added for the lounge. In addition, a wraparound counter was designed with separate stations for tea, coffee, and bubble tea.
Hank has worked in various coffee shops around the city over the past several years, and took a lead on designing the counter in particular. They came up with the concept for a community hangout spot that would be a place for inspiration, connection, and learning.
Regarding the business name, Hank laughs, “After shaking my head at the bevy of bad names Evan proposed, I finally paused at Perchance and declared, “I like that!” Besides the connection to literature (from Hamlet’s “To be, or not to be” soliloquy), we also loved the implications of the name. We envision the tea shop as a venue for chance encounters — those moments when ideas and people meet, collide, and coincide in just the right way, possibly changing the lives of the parties involved for the better.”
Everything behind this shop is well considered. “Our logo as well as the artwork on the walls represents the diverse yet inclusive community we live in and that we envision for Perchance. The artists executed the brilliant vision for a dynamic (read: jumping all over the place) family of characters who could represent the people in our community. Although we love tea, coffee, literature, art, and nature, we recognize that when it comes down to it we are a people-centred business, so we wanted to feature the characters as a central part of our logo,” says Hank.
How has the business been received by customers? “So far so good! Options for good coffee in the area are relatively limited and even more so for good tea. We’re hoping to bring a little more traffic to this end of Dunbar and contribute to a thriving and engaging community,” says Hank.
“Our customers have embraced Perchance with open arms. Neighbouring businesses have been nothing but welcoming.” Hank Wang
Serious coffee drinkers in the neighbourhood appreciate the specialty coffees. The drip coffees stand out. The shop has also developed a growing fan base of tea drinkers who have discovered the variety and quality of Chinese teas that are rarely found, and in some cases are not available anywhere else in the city.
Perchance aims to be innovative by using only whole ingredients whenever possible.
They turn to fresh dairy rather than powdered creamers, organic cane sugar rather than refined white sugar, and all flavours are made in-house from real flowers, herbs and fruits rather than artificial syrups or powders.The desserts are highly recomended. Hank suggests trying any of the roll cakes or the vegan banana bread. Also found inside the display case are beautiful personal size heart shaped cakes created by pastry chef Jamie Tung at Butter Mere Patisserie. These cakes have a mousse exterior and are filled with three different flavours: bergamot, hazelnut chocolate and yuzu coconut. All have been hand selected to pair with Perchance’s tea and coffee.
The kale quinoa salad makes a healthy and filling meal and the avocado toast with a medium poached egg on a croissant is another winner.
A big reward for Evan, Hank and the eight staff members is having customers express their enjoyment. Connecting with friends, family and community members is another perk and is a perfect excuse to get together.
Hank concludes, “Our goal is to always go the extra step in both our service and products in our pursuit for quality and wholesomeness. While our mission ‘never just good enough’ informs what we strive to accomplish each and every day, we recognize that some of the most amazing interactions happen by serendipity rather than by design. Hence, our name, Perchance.”
Perchance Tea & Coffee
3363 Dunbar Street, Vancouver BC V6S 2B9