Business

Coffee, flowers and a toad make for North Bend café combination

Toad’s Cafe owners (from left) Nicole Miller, Melody Smith, and Gretchen Stevens relax on a comfy couch, complete with flowery cushions.  - Carol Ladwig/Staff Photo
Toad’s Cafe owners (from left) Nicole Miller, Melody Smith, and Gretchen Stevens relax on a comfy couch, complete with flowery cushions.
— image credit: Carol Ladwig/Staff Photo

North Bend’s newest coffee shop is also its newest flower shop, where you can pick up a latte, some gluten-free pastries, and a potted orchid on your way home. If you ask the owners of Toad’s Cafe, it’s the perfect combination.

“We’ve been floral and event designers for years, and our other passion was coffee, so we decided to open the shop,” explained Nicole Miller, who co-owns the business at 224 West North Bend Way with Gretchen Stevens and Stevens’ mother Melody Smith.

“We always meet our brides in coffee shops, anyway,” Stevens added.

Brides are the women’s main clients for the floral design part of the business, Enchanted Evenings for You (enchantedeveningsevents.com), which they’ve operated together for about five years. When they added coffee to their business model, though, they also wanted to add a more casual feel.

“We wanted it to be relaxed and comfortable,” said Smith.

That’s where the name came from.

“We had our frog prince (logo) with our event design company, and we just loved him,” said Miller. “We decided to keep him, but he needed to be a little more country, so he became a toad.”

“Who doesn’t like a toad?” asked Stevens.

Nobody, apparently. Toad’s Cafe has been open for about a month, and has been well-received by the community.

“We like it, and we’ll be back,” said one customer on her way out the door.

Like the frog prince, the location of Toad’s went through a transformation, from the dark walls of the former Shanty Tavern to the warm and cozy feel of the cafe today, which is just what they wanted.

Smith described meeting a local resident whose nickname was ‘Toad’ at the shop. “He said it was very peaceful and relaxing in here,” she said.

“So it’s Toad-approved!” said Miller.

Toad’s features locally-roasted coffee, organic soups from Ladle, and all-natural sandwiches and pastries, many of them gluten-free. There are also Whidbey Island Soaps, Hammonds Candies and a line of fine desserts, all of which are hard to find in North Bend.

“I’d rather support a local, smaller business that has unique things, than a corporate giant... we don’t want to bring in just any old thing,” said Stevens.

Toad’s will host live music events on weekends, and coming soon, the owners want to obtain a license to host tasting events for local beers and wines, too.

“We’re a small business, and we want to support other small businesses,” said Miller. Especially in the North Bend area, which all of the women love, although none of them live in the area currently.

Miller drives to and from Arlington daily, and said she and her husband are too busy to put their house on the market during the holidays, but “this is where we want to move to.”

Stevens said they chose North Bend to open Toad’s because they thought this area would be most receptive to the cafe.

Toad’s is open seven days a week, starting at 6 a.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. weekends. Closing time is 7 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 5 p.m. Sundays.

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