|  Your source for news and events in the Columbia Valley

 Posted in    |  on June 3rd, 2011  |  by

Friends spill the beans

GOURMET GURUS — Donna Ford, Shirley Griese, Nola Alt, and Sharon Jamieson have pooled their collective experience to start The Spilli Bean and Spilli Dining station, a coffee shop and dining hot spot in Spillimacheen. Photo submitted

A building in Spillimacheen that was once a central hub for forestry in the area has been revived into a community focal point once more by four women who have started The Spilli Bean and Spilli Dining Station, a coffee and dining destination mid-way between Radium and Golden.

Donna Ford, Nola Art, and twin sisters, Shirley Griese and Sharon Jamieson, knew for a long time they wanted to start a business together, but only recently realized the potential of their new venture in Spillimacheen. The ladies quit their full-time jobs, and went for it.

“We’ve been dreaming of something like this for a long time,” Donna said.

That something is currently a two-part operation, The Spilli Bean, a coffee shop serving gourmet coffee and warm baked goods, and Spilli Dining Station, which serves a feature menu from the coffee shop dining area on Friday and Saturday evenings, and brunch on Sundays.

The women, who call themselves Station Hill Enterprises, hope to eventually expand the large building to include artisans upstairs and a farmers’ market outdoors.

For now, the women are focusing their energy on brewing specialty coffees and filling customers’ bellies with homemade treats.

Each day the coffee shop has a feature item, which Sharon says always has a little twist, like salad with warm, sliced meat, grilled home baked biscuits, and chicken stew. Nola brings tasty ideas to the table with her culinary experience from when she used to run the Spilli Station Cafe, which is no longer operating.

So far, the reception has been great, Donna said. The ladies have welcomed cyclists, travellers, and truckers from the highway, boaters from the nearby Columbia River, and of course, local residents who have been pleasantly surprised to find such a spot in the north end of the valley.

“People are pretty amazed when they come in here,” Donna said. “It’s not hoity-toity, but it’s not honky-tonky either. It’s comfortable.”

Indeed, when you walk through the bright red front door, you immediately feel welcome. The warm, wooden walls have local artwork hanging from them, the space is roomy, but cozy, and the smell of fresh pie wafts from the brightly-painted kitchen in the back.

The ladies said they hope The Spilli Bean will draw more regulars and turn into a central spot for the community to connect over a cup of joe and the newspaper (The Pioneer is dropped off every Friday!).

Years ago, the building the coffee shop and dining station are run out of was a B.C. Forest office for the Spillimacheen Ranger District, established in 1952. The office-warehouse building, as well as a ranger station and staff houses, were constructed in 1953-1954. In 1974, the Spillimacheen Ranger District was amalgamated with the Invermere Ranger District, and the Spillimacheen station was reduced to a skeleton staff, until it closed in May, 1983. The property was sold to George and Laquita Rollins, and George ran Turtle Island Gifts from it for 21 years, until his passing last year.

Sitting at a table at the front of the property, it’s easy to see why the property was selected for constructing a station. It overlooks a bend in the Columbia River, with the Purcell Mountains in the background.

“When you’re not in a highway hurry, it’s a great place to stop, have a moment of peace, and enjoy the view,” Sharon said.
Hours: The Spilli Bean: 7 a.m.-4 p.m., 7 days a week. Spilli Station Dining: Friday and Saturday, 5 p.m.-10 p.m., Sunday brunch 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

*Note: During the Spilli Chili Cookoff weekend of June 11th, The Spilli Bean will operate with regular daily hours, but there will be no dining in the evenings. Gourmet hot dogs will be served on Saturday, June 11th, and there will be a special pancake breakfast on Sunday, June 12th instead.

Kelsey Verboom
Email: kelsey@cv-pioneer.com
More from

Editor Kelsey Verboom grew up in the Columbia Valley, and is excited to be involved with her hometown newspaper. Kelsey studied English at the University of Calgary before attending a journalism and photojournalism program at the Western Academy of Photography in Victoria, British Columbia. Before becoming editor, Kelsey worked as a reporter for The Columbia Valley Pioneer. Her photography and writing reflect her deep-rooted passion for the Columbia Valley.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note: All comments are moderated during regular working hours, your comment will appear once it has been approved. We reserve the right to publish any online comment in the regular newspaper in a section called "Words from the Web". Questions? Call the office at 250-341-6299.