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Owners get cracking for Cora
Darren and Anissa Harper were immediately hooked when they heard the back story of Cora Tsouflidou.
Tsouflidou’s husband had walked out, leaving her with three teenage children to support on her own.
She bought a small neighbourhood canteen in Montreal, worked hard, tripled its value and sold it.
She then worked various roles at another restaurant, perfecting her knowledge of the food service industry and, in 1987, bought a defunct snack bar.
Nearly 27 years later, there are now more than 130 Cora Breakfast and Lunch restaurants across the country.
“We have the same menu from one ocean to the other, this is for me the magic of Cora,” she told the invited guests for the grand opening on Tuesday morning of the franchise’s new Langley location.
“I was just the beginning — I made the menu but the staff makes the job,” she added.
“Have a dream and stick to it, because it works.”
The Harpers are long on restaurant and managerial experience, but the husband-wife team always wanted to own their own business.
For the previous 25 years, they had worked for McDonald’s Restaurants, relocating to Langley 10 years ago with Darren in charge of about 37 McDonald’s around the Lower Mainland while Anissa did contract work for the company.
But now, they finally get to work in the community they live in as the owner-operators of the Langley restaurant.
“We loved the concept, we loved the atmosphere, the story behind it, and we just fell in love with the brand,” Anissa explained.
“It is just an inspiring story about how she created such a great company from this one little business all on her own.”
The Harpers had never heard of the Cora brand until a family member mentioned it.
They went to the Coquitlam location — Langley is the sixth B.C. branch — and knew they had found something.
They went through an extensive interview process before being granted their franchise.
The Harpers have spent the past two years preparing for the opening.
The restaurant offers omelettes, eggs, crepes, waffles and French toast on the breakfast menu and a lunch menu consisting of sandwiches, salads, soups and quiches.
The menu also heavily features fresh fruits, and there are no deep fryers.
The restaurant, which also has a patio, seats 132 and has a staff of 45.
The Langley location, at 104-20670 Langley Bypass, is open seven days a week, from 6 a.m.to 3 p.m. Monday to Saturday and from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays.
Gary Ahuja/Langley Times
Anissa and Darren Harper (second and third from right) presented the Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation with a cheque for $2,791.65. The Harpers opened up a Cora Breakfast and Lunch franchise in Langley earlier this week and the amount donated represented the entire sales of their first day of business, as well as the tips from the serving staff.