After 6 years of hard work and growth, what started out as Collingwood’s best kept secret has become one of the most popular gathering places in Collingwood Downtown. With its iconic entrance down a small alleyway, strung with Edison lights, Gibson’s is a place where people come to enjoy great coffee, wine and cocktails and an impressive menu of lite fare, small plates and sharables.
Co-owners Luke Anderson and Keaton Grieve connected in Toronto in 2009 and started hanging around in the same social circle. Inspired by Boxcar Social, Luke wanted to open a coffee house and wine bar. As he is originally from Collingwood and would come here often to visit family, it came naturally to start doing some market research for a location in a town that caters to entrepreneurial growth with a growing population and a shifting demographic.
“We started doing our research and we felt that there was nowhere really where you could just enjoy a really nice bottle of wine that wasn’t in a restaurant setting. Once we formulated our business model, we searched for a commercial location and after six months, signed our lease,” recalls Keaton “it was a pretty exciting day”.
“Once we figured out the specialty coffee, craft beverage, and lite fare menus, we layered on the wine piece. We’re both wine collectors and have had the wonderful opportunity to visit wineries in Tuscany, Bordeaux and Champagne regions in France, Santa Barbera, and Napa Valley in California,” explains Luke “we have over 200 different labels of consignment wine to choose from at any one time that people can take home or if they’d like to enjoy their wine with us, we charge a nominal $15 corkage fee. We like to focus on natural, organic, and biodynamic small batch wines that you can’t find in the LCBO.”
Fun fact: Gibson & Company does offer rare whisk(e)ys and other spirits but that’s not where the name comes from. Gibson’s is named after Luke’s family dog. Unfortunately, the real Gibson is no longer with us today, but if you look closely, you can spot homages to him peppered throughout the interior décor.
The future looks bright for Luke and Keaton. They are currently working on opening another business and renovation and construction is underway. “We love downtown Collingwood. It’s unique, vibrant, beautiful, and full of young entrepreneurs. Each new place that opens elevates the dining scene as a whole and we’re excited to offer something new. Understanding the numbers and doing a financial forecast is extremely important when you’re creating your business model,” advises Keaton, who is the numbers guy. “You need to have a firm grasp the cost of goods sold, staffing, leaseholds and so on.”
You can find Gibsons at 93 Hurontario St Unit 3, in Collingwood Downtown or online at www.gibsonandcompany.ca/. Follow them on Facebook www.facebook.com/gibsonandcompany/ or Instagram @gibsonandcompany www.instagram.com/gibsonandcompany/.