Station W is a great coffee shop to start your day in Verdun: friendly staff, high quality coffee served with any kind of treat you can imagine and a relaxed feeling. When I visited Station W for the first time I was so amazed by the decoration and calm atmosphere it had; so much that I wanted to meet the mastermind behind the scenes. Then, I had the chance to meet Simon Defoy, founder of Station W and coffee connoisseur, for a quick interview. With nice music playing at the back and a very good latte, we had a little chat to know more about Station W and Simon himself.
How did you get into the coffee business? I was a restaurant manager in Old Montreal, and then I decided to open my own place. That was four years ago.
What was the name of the restaurant? Vallier Bistro; I was the manager for five years but then I decided to go for a new challenge. I always knew I wanted to have my own place, so that is why I decided to open a coffee shop.
What sets Station W apart from other cafés? I think it is the service quality and the kindness: the staff here is close to the customer compared to other coffee shops in town. In other places, you walk in and nobody looks at you, but here we always welcome with a greeting. We have an excellent quality on the food and the coffee, of course, but the customer service is mainly what I think that sets Station W apart from other places.
Does your coffee provider change seasonally, or do you have a favorite one? We change seasonally; we try to get the best coffee beans according to the season. Our favorite one is of Kenyan origin, but when it runs out we look for the best one available. Right now we have Ethiopian coffee beans for light roast, and we like to try new thing all the time. For latte, or coffee drinks that contain milk, we always use Brazilian coffee beans because of its strong flavor that stands out in lighter drinks.
What is your personal favorite coffee drink? I like black coffee: no sugar, no milk. I drink Americano and filtered coffee when I am looking for something floral, but sometimes I drink espresso for its concentrated flavor and rich texture. Some other months I just drink pour-over coffee, but I never drink coffee with milk.
I have come to notice that most coffee lovers have a morning routine. Do you have one? Yes! The first thing to do when I come into my coffee shop is to have a cup of coffee. At home I always look for coffee as well. Even when I am not at home I always carry coffee with me: I have my own Aeropress and I make my own coffee anywhere I am.
How did you come up with the name “Station W”? Well, it is very simple! A Station is where you stop on your way for short or medium break. And W because of Rue Wellington of course!
Could you describe Station W in one sentence? Station W is homely, friendly and has high quality products.
Do you have an interesting customer story? All customers are special to us, but there is one story where a nice lady, at some point, gave me money to buy an air conditioner system. By that time we have just opened and I did not have one, so the customer decided to pay for it, just for me.
What is one thing your customers should know about you? We always try to do our best. If once you came here and it was not what you expected to be, you should give us another chance. Sometimes the coffee shop could be very busy, and if we could not give our best at that time, give us another chance. You know, in small businesses, we work hard to have people to come back every day.
Do you have any exciting plans for the future? Yes, I do have exciting plans for the future: last year I just open a new coffee shop on this street called Café de la Troisième, and I have a new project coming on. Probably, I will sign a lease for a place near Rosemont in two weeks, and it is going to be open in one year. I am always trying to offer different things in my new places.
We learned that good experience shows itself in a good business, as Simon pointed out. Station W’s design and comfortability is product of his past in other bistros and taste for high quality coffee, not to mention his loyal customers. It is never easy to fulfil your dreams and ideas; but as Simon showed us, it is possible with hard work and cup of coffee every morning.