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Living their dream


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There's a lot to be said of coming in contact with people who are positive. It was quite a number of years ago that I first met Jane Burris. She was the head of customer service for Central Trust, which at the time was located in what is now the TD Bank building on Inglis Place.
Meeting occasionally on the streets of Truro in recent years, you could count on Jane's smile while she was always noticeably joyful. During late 2007 we talked briefly on a couple of occasions and enthusiastically she shared her dream of opening a bistro in Truro.
When people are determined, when they have desire and when they set goals and follow dreams, not always, but sometimes, things work out.
This week's Looking Back column is about two friends who sought after their dream.
Jane was born in Truro and graduated from the Colchester County Academy. The former Jane Hall, her father was Lorne Hall the well-known Truro pharmacist who owned Hall's Pharmacy on East Prince Street. Growing up, Jane enjoyed both music and dancing.
Besides working for Central Trust in Truro, Jane worked during the 1970s for the Toronto Dominion Bank in Vancouver. Prior to going into business, she most recently sold real estate for Prudential Woods Realty.
Laura Fisher is from Tatamagouche. A graduate of North Colchester High School, she worked first for the Tatamagouche Artisan Co-op. Later, Laura managed the decorating department for Sun Shore Ceramic. Before going into business, she too sold real estate for Prudential Woods Realty.
"I have known Jane for about eight years. We first met and became friends when taking our real estate course together in 2000," Laura said. "For two years or more while working together at Prudential, we discussed a mutual desire and a dream to open a small restaurant in Truro. We talked about it a lot. I felt that it was my lot in life to feed people, it's my calling, it's something which I like to do."
Taking essential steps associated with going into the food service business followed as did much planning.
"One of the tough obstacles was to find a suitable location to rent," Jane shared.
"It's ironic but we entered a lease for space in the TD Bank building, the very same building where I had worked for the bank many years earlier. On April 14 of this year, Laura and I, as partners, opened The Lovin' Spoonfull Bistro at 22A Inglis Place.
"For me, I had 'Fish Wish' 13 years ago. I sold fresh seafood and some prepared dishes up on East Prince Street. I learned that the raw product was difficult to sell because a lot of people did not understand how to cook fresh fish. That was in 1995 and noticing that my prepared dishes such as pastas and seafood sold very quickly, I began thinking about doing exactly what we're doing now."
Just after closing recently I viewed the feature board at The Lovin' Spoonfull Bistro. Neatly written with chalk, I read: 'Daily - two soups or chowder/curry-squash-apple soup with big biscuit. Pizza of the day/Tuscan Pizza, hormone free chicken, spinach, mozza cheese, tomato and red onion. Desserts of the day/carrot-pineapple cake, cheese cake and berries.
Leafing through the menu, I found interesting paninis and salads.
Then, one of my first questions for Jane and Laura was, "how's it been going?"
Laura was the first to respond.
"Pretty good, we've had a good day. The owners are in the kitchen and that's a key we are certain."
Laura also shared that she grew up in a large family, one of 11 children. She said that she felt it was an important life lesson going through difficult times during her youth. Through this she advised that she learned to cut corners and make due with the basics when preparing meals.
Jane added: "In today's world where everything is commercialized, we feel it is important to have a business that is independent and personally run. If we stay right hands on, hopefully we'll do OK. We're certainly appreciative for the great support that we've received from Truro and area. The downtown merchants have been so good, they have helped a lot by promoting us to their own clientele."
I listened further as Jane and Laura told about serving customers this summer from distant places as Toronto, Vancouver, New York, Florida, Iceland and Norway.
During June, The Lovin Spoonfull Bistro invented a rhubarb champagne spritzer. Giving the profit to the local breast cancer chapter, a few hundred dollars was raised.
When not greeting customers and helping out in the kitchen, Jane, the wife of dairy farmer Phillip Burris, resides in Green Oaks.
Laura, when not cooking, baking and inventing new dishes, resides in Truro.
As I left the clean and attractively presented bistro, there was a good feeling in knowing that someone was living their dream.

Lyle Carter is a freelance writer who lives in Brookfield

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