By JOURNEY Staff
Andrea VanDerHerberg prefers to stand outside the spotlight.
With an unassuming and low-key approach to life, committed to her roles as wife to Michael and mother to young William and Grace, she allows her religious faith to lead her in her daily life and towards many acts of kindness to others. She plays soccer and volleyball, knits and loves to ride her bike.
But, of course, that’s only part of her story. The other chapter is as the much-admired businesswoman in Peterborough, Ontario, as owner of one of the most happening spots in Peterborough’s downtown summer landscape — the Silver Bean Cafe on the Otonabee River.
Andrea grew up in Peterborough in a faith-filled home and attended Adam Scott Secondary School and then Fleming College for Business Administration studies. As a counsellor at a summer camp in Bancroft during those years, she met fellow counsellor, Michael VanDerHerberg. They married in December, 2004.
She took over the Silver Bean Cafe the summer after the second year of her three-year program at Fleming, in 2003 at the age of 20. (Wild Rock Outfitters had operated it for one year prior. Andrea assumed the contract from the city of Peterborough, which owns the building and the land. She pays rent to the city.)
In her high school years, she knew she wanted to own a cafe, drawn by both a love of baking and the hospitality environment. She learned the ropes working part-time at the Planet Restaurant on Water Street for four years, starting as a high school co-op student.
Andrea’s three guiding words are Love, Serve and Worship
The Silver Bean Cafe, which calls itself “Your Waterfront Cottage in the City”, offers a variety of coffees, fresh sandwiches and soups, and desserts and ice cream, open May to October, with 18 employees, both part and full-time. It’s a pleasantly comfortable atmosphere where you’re almost certain to run into someone you know.
You have to walk to it or bike, but that’s all part of its charm, said Andrea.
“It’s a little bit out of the way, off the the beaten path, and people have to take some extra time to get to it, take a break and relax,” she said.
“It’s in a central park area. That’s the fun thing about it. We get to be in the middle of a lot of things that are happening, just by the nature of where we are,” — like craft sales, weddings, the Purple Onion Festival, and the Pride Parade after-event.
The cafe has also developed partnerships, helping to raise money for non-profit organizations and events like Paint the Town Red, the United Way, and the YWCA, all part of its dedication to worthwhile causes in the city.
Andrea’s three guiding words are: Love, Serve and Worship. With so much busyness in her life at the moment, her faith has become much more hands-on, rather than reflective, she said.
Last winter for example, their church, The Parish in Peterborough, sponsored a Syrian refugee family and Andrea was the co-lead on the organizating committee.
“We also end up hosting a lot at home. The guest room is most often full with just someone who needs a place, a space. That just makes life fun.”
Husband Michael, who works as a refugee resettlement co-ordinator at Peterborough’s New Canadians Centre, has become more and more involved in the cafe over the years, and recently became a co-owner.
“He’s the one who pushes us forward, goes out and makes connections,” said Andrea. “It’s a good partnership that way, for sure.”
“Michael always inspires me, and I’m perfectly content to be in a supportive role. I end up being a leader sometimes, but I don’t feel that need or that drive as some people do. To be a good helper is really important.”
Five years from now, will we still find Andrea and her smile behind the counter at the Silver Bean?
“I’m trying to figure that out,” she admitted. “Every year I wonder if I will move on. I will still have a cafe, but I think I see myself being pulled into some kind of steady job that has more structure. I still want to be full of responsibility and helping others. But it’s been great.”
*Andrea VanDerHerberg is a Red Pashmina Woman of Impact*