Twenty years after opening the doors to their cafe for the first time, Konrad Glowczynski and his wife Elzbieta are still behind the counter almost every day. Over the years the couple has used their strong coffee, fresh snacks, warm greetings and a little bit of magic to create a community that returns year after year.
Originally from Poland, the Glowczynskis didn’t know they would find themselves in a small but growing Canadian ski village when they left Italy in 1990.
Greeted by cherry blossom trees in Vancouver, they held various jobs in the restaurant scene until in 1994 their journey lead them to to Sun Peaks. Then, like many other locals, they fell in love with the new resort and kept coming back.
When the Sundance Lodge was constructed in 1996 the pair saw their chance and decided to open a cafè and move their family to the Interior.
It was a risk, they had never run a cafe before, or even owned a business. Konrad said he purchased the smallest commercial space in the new building on a credit card and struggled to secure financing.
But on Easter weekend of 1997 they opened their doors and didn’t close them for seven years, even for one day. They faced many challenges compounded by the extreme seasonality of the young resort but Konrad said it was their persistence that allowed them
“Things like this you build probably once in your life,” he said. “I don’t think you can build too many like this. It takes time to build it, there’s no overnight success.”
Many stories of their special blend of coffee and hospitality have now spread across the globe, as they welcome guests hailing from all over.
Part of their success came from working side by side for many years. Konrad said he focused on the front while Elzbieta, who is more hands on, carefully crafted sandwiches and baked pastries.
They had to learn to self sufficiency, without a bakery or grocery store yet in sight, making
their own products from scratch such as their famous in-house mustard and Elzbieta’s berry scones. Now their fresh sandwiches and homemade baking compete with their perfectly brewed cups of coffee for most popular product.
More than supporting their family of five financially, Bolacco served as a place for their own children, and the community, to grow up.
Now years of seasons passes, racing medals and school photos cover the walls, all memories they have shared with their customers.
“It’s an extension of our house, our living room,” Konrad said. “We never treat customers as a one time customer. Now we see people who were here as kids coming back with their kids. They’re almost our family.”
Konrad said he wished they could have spent more time skiing but there was plenty of work for two people to do between work and family.
“Our children skied a lot and we worked a lot so they could ski,” he said.
Now, with a little more free time, he focuses on Nordic skiing through the winter months.
Being one of the first independent businesses in the resort, they have watched it change around them.
“Sometimes you don’t even realize it’s growing,” Konrad said.
Their children are now adults and while not rushing, the entrepreneurial couple are eyeing a retirement that includes travelling back to Europe to see the places they didn’t while working there.
“We like adventure, we like to go and wander.
“I am proud we created this, it’s hard to find someone I trust to pass it on,” Konrad said. “We have had a great 20 years with our family, it was a great experience.”