The heart of downtown Guelph has been enjoying vegetarian and vegan food from The Cornerstone for two decades. Founded on the idea of community, environment and fresh food, the new owners continue this tradition of intersectional space.
“What we’re really trying to do is give people reasons and space to come and gather,” explained new co-owner Thuy Huynh, who took on The Cornerstone space with co-owner Sydney Coles in Summer 2021. “Our main focus is creating a community in downtown Guelph and facilitating a comfortable space for people.”
This happening place serves brunch, lunch and dinner for those with vegan and vegetarian diets. Add local beer and coffee, great live music and events, and you complete the recipe for success.
“We are really well known for our tempeh Reuben sandwich, our pad thai as well as our brunch on weekends,” said Huynh, adding the atmosphere is often invigorated with music. “If you are looking for something more lively in the evenings or on weekends, we offer live music and events, which is perfect for a first date or a cozy meet up.”
Huynh and Coles, new owners at The Cornerstone, benefitted from the advice of the previous owner. Following his recommendation, they contact the Business Centre Guelph-Wellington (BCGW) about the Starter Company Plus program.
“We learned a lot about running a business,” said Huynh of the program. “We got a $5,000 grant from the Starter Company Plus program. We built a strong and supportive professional network.”
They both recommend entrepreneurs reach out to the business centre to get matched with a mentor.
“One of the best things about the business centre for us was getting to meet our mentor (Tony Morris) every couple of weeks,” explained Coles. “He gave us great guidance and support.”
Beyond the mentor relationship, their contact with the BCGW also helped them get the right advice they needed to address various business challenges.
“We also got to chat with professionals like lawyers and accountants who answered all our questions,” said Coles, adding the network of other participants was also invaluable. “It’s a great way to connect with other entrepreneurs and meet people in the same stage of business as you.”
While they continue to build community at The Cornerstone, over healthy food, a great selection of baked goods and their famous tofu chocolate cheesecake, these young entrepreneurs also feel they have found the connections they need in the business community as well.
“What we really loved about working with the business centre was how approachable and knowledgeable everyone is,” said Huynh. “They really want nothing more than to help new business owners succeed.”
"What we really loved about working with the business centre was how approachable and knowledgeable everyone is" — Thuy Huynh