Historic past, bright future

Rejuvenation of downtown Nanaimo's iconic Modern Café catches the attention of television producers

  • Jul. 3, 2012 8:00 p.m.
The Modern Café has been an icon in downtown Nanaimo since the 1940s. The restaurant is teaming up with Shaw TV’s Success by Design program.

The Modern Café has been an icon in downtown Nanaimo since the 1940s. The restaurant is teaming up with Shaw TV’s Success by Design program.

The Modern Café has been a landmark in the downtown of Nanaimo since 1946.

The building, built in 1910, is on the city’s community heritage register, and its neon sign is a surving example of the lighting style that brightened up the downtown core until the mid 1980s.

The look and success of the Modern Café caught the attention of the producers of the local television program, Success by Design, which recently announced a seasonal title sponsorship agreement with the iconic local restaurant.

The agreement sees the show renamed to The Modern Café’s Success by Design.

The program is designed to help Vancouver Island businesses succeed and offers  information for entrepreneurs.

It also provides a voice for local businesses to share their stories of success and showcases the many thriving business communities that call Vancouver Island home.

“It’s about supporting local business,” said host Dawn Wiggers.

“If we can connect local businesses to a local audience – introduce them to each other – we can positively influence the local economy and the community.”

This collaboration seems an ideal fit, as Scott Cooper, owner of the Modern Café, is no stranger to success.

Since taking over the restaurant two years ago, he has completely revitalized the business – transforming the menu, energizing the décor, and reestablishing the Modern as a landmark hotspot in downtown Nanaimo.

Although well known as one of the oldest restaurants in the city, the Modern Café has been redefined as a truly modern, technologically advanced place of business.

Under Cooper’s management, the Modern was the first restaurant on Vancouver Island to utilize iPad technology.

Cooper’s efforts have not gone unnoticed. At the 13th annual Sterling Business Awards, sponsored by the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce in recognition for excellence in business, Cooper was named Business Leader of the Year.

“Scott is an innovative, driven business owner,” said Wiggers. “He’s established himself as a leading figure in the community and I couldn’t be happier to welcome him onboard. Watch out, because together we’re going to shake things up.”

As part of the sponsorship arrangement, Wiggers and her team recently produced a television commercial for the Modern, which is being featured on local broadcast this summer.

The commercial – a 1940s period piece –was designed as homage to café’s longstanding history in the area.

Filming of the commercial, which featured local actors, period wardrobe, and classic vehicles, caused quite a stir on Nanaimo’s busy Commercial Street in May.

The commercial will be featured on every episode of The Modern Café’s Success by Design.

Viewers can catch show, every Thursday and Sunday on Shaw TV (Channel 4). For a full airing schedule, or to watch recent episodes, please visit www.successco.ca.

To learn more about The Modern Café’s Success by Design, or find out how to be a part of it, please e-mail Wiggers at dawn@successco.ca or call 250-714-8978.

For more information about the Modern Café, please contact Cooper at 250-754-5022 or visit www.themoderncafe.ca.