The Wild Oak: Nourish, Connect, Inspire

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A Mother, a Wife, a Creative Entrepreneur, a witch in the kitchen: Heidi Jordan is a woman stepping into her power, and the results are visible magic.

A simple memory fueled Jordan’s confidence. As an adult woman she felt disconnected from her passion, highly capable and full of enthusiasm, but her intuition continued to nudge her forwards. A flash to a memory long since stashed away reminded Jordan that she has always known what to do, and that she is now a grown-up, fueled to execute what her subconscious has been preparing her for. Let me introduce to you to Heidi Jordan, a Modern Career Woman & the brain behind your new favourite place to nourish, connect & inspire: The Wild Oak Café & Community Market in Armstrong.

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Design has played a large role in how you’ve approached your business, from your branding on your handmade business cards to the logo in the window, your eclectic furniture has been curated with a deliberate hand—what was your design process in this space?
When we started the space had low ceilings, florescent lighting, dark walls—it was a hairdresser’s shop. I kind of came into it with ideas of what to create, and a feeling to create, but didn’t know how to go about doing that. I am blessed to have a dad, a brother and a husband who are all carpenters. I was like okay, this is what I need to do, and they came in and did it. I would come along and embellish. I like to have the last word on design, but the collaborative nature of this project meant that the final outcome was something that I would have never come up with on my own, the Wild Oak is a true community effort!

Environment seems to be very important to you. What are some aspects which you keep in mind while creating a space?
I design a space based on the five senses. I recently worked at a Pilates studio, and noticed how atmosphere creates environment. This always rings true, and visually I need to be able to breath. White walls, high ceilings, keeping the space uncluttered—relaxed. Music is key for me, it’s always on, and if there’s silence in the air my staff is on it. They change the music, turn up the volume, a good vibe comes from good music. Gaz, my husband, is a musician. The soundtrack of our lives is very important.

How does it feel to own your own business?
I don’t even know yet. It feels (grabs face) sometimes unbelievable. Almost as if I’m playing house. I say to myself, “So how are you enjoying playing café?” (laughs). I Have to remind myself on a daily basis that I’m doing this. We dreamt of this for years. Often tried to do it, but it wasn’t the right time or the right place. This space came up for lease and they were on it. It’s a production. Start from square one, make your way through, finish one part of it, realize that you have jump into another. The business is ever growing, always expanding.

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Have you always seen yourself as a businesswoman?
Certainly wouldn’t say that I’ve always seen myself as a professional. Inside I feel like a little girl. When I’m walking around in my womanly body I feel like a little girl with loads of hopes and loads of dreams. I love to give myself a challenge and see it through to the end the best I possibly can. I see myself as a businesswoman for sure.

I reached my young adulthood and didn’t think I would really ever know what I wanted to do. Never knew. No idea, no idea, no idea. Years go by, and I’m still think that I’m this woman who has no idea what her real passion is. Then I opened this place and I was sitting down making plans, doing research, background work, and I flashed to high school CAPP (Careers and Personal Planning) class. We had to create a business. Me and my two best friends at the time decided that we wanted to open up a café. We literally spent however long making these plans for ‘Bean Around the World,’ had to do a layout and a menu and everything, I swear to God that the one part of school that I enjoyed. Loved it. Passionate about it. Didn’t remember it until I started to create this place. Holy crap! I always knew exactly what I wanted to do! Thanks for that memory!

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Have you always loved food?
I feel like I don’t really recall loving food when I was young. When I went away traveling it didn’t really matter that much, and then I became an adult, and food became really important. My husband Gaz loves to eat, so I started looking into where food came from, and how I could create different things about it, and I became really passionate. Due to personal dietary issues I learned about how food effects your body. My body forced me to be creative with my cooking.

Before food, what was your creative outlet?
As a young girl I loved to paint, and I did a lot of beading, jewelry making, I used a bead loom for years which I loved. There are pictures of me as a 6-year-old girl arranging flowers in the garden. For me, life is very connected to nature.

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Why is local important to you?
Gaz and I traveled for a decade, bouncing between Canada, England & Australia, we were gypsies. When we came back to Armstrong we were pregnant with Toby. We had him here and chose to be here because it was such an amazing place for me to grow up, and I wanted my son to experience what I did as a child. We got here and it was not as I had remembered, we weren’t inspired by the area, and weren’t meeting people and getting together to do things. For me, that’s one of the most important parts of this place, and of raising a family. To be able to come together, know your community, and be a part of something more than your living room. I want to support the local farmers, the local mothers, and anyone new to the area, the seniors as well. There’s something to be said for knowing your neighbours.

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What makes the Wild Oak Unique?
I feel that the Wild oak just kind of checks off a bunch of boxes that for me are really really important. We found that we were driving 45 minutes away to find a place that fits, so we made a massive list of things that we needed to see in a business, and started checking them off. Also learning what other people want as well. I feel like supporting the local arts is something unique, very family oriented, great kid play place, mothers/fathers can come and actually relax while they have lunch, we have super high quality products, use the best of the best and we’ve put a lot of thought into where we get out coffees and teas and veg. We are really passionate about having relationships with the people that we work with as well, and I make sure that I make a connection with someone and nourish the relationship before I buy from them. We make everything from scratch: baking, soups, sandwiches, fillings, chutneys, hummus, pickles, in house chai— we strive to make sure that the ingredients list in our food is small and simple and fresh and organic whenever possible, this is very important to us.

You are a modern woman, a mother, a wife, an entrepreneur, what are some tricks that you use to juggle your schedule?
Can I be brutally honest? I have absolutely no tips! I’m really bad at juggling my schedule, and I think it’s part of the territory when you’re trying to do it all. We do our best. We work as a team and we have an amazing little boy who is 100% a part of the team. Wild oak is second home. Toby always asks if dinner will be at the restaurant or at home. I never fold laundry, am always late for everything, but it somehow works and we’re happy. I get here and we bake and Toby comes down for breakfast, and we just kind of juggle it. It was hard at first. Some advice would be to just be in your passion, believe in yourself, & have a support system (my family has supported me 150% and without them could not have done it)

What is your vision for The Wild Oak?
Three words sum up the Wild Oak: Nourish, Connect, Inspire. The wild oak is a platform from which we will jump. I suppose it’s a starting point for creating a place where people can gather for all the most important things in life. Growing food, eating food, meeting new people, giving birth, playing music, making art, learning about the world. I suppose what we would love to do is own a piece of property somewhere where we can create all of those things and people can come and they can join the movement. This is a platform from which to jump into that that will hopefully be around for years. Might have to add on (as she looks up). We are totally open to communication! If anybody has any ideas about events or things to do, I’ve made a place where people feel that they can come and speak to me and we can make events happen. I want it to be a place where people can connect and learn new things. Musicians. More music, (rubs her hands together) and eventually we’ll have a Sunday afternoon jam.

The Wild Oak Café & Community Market
2539 Pleasant Valley Blvd
Armstrong, BC
Find them on Facebook
wildoakcommunity@gmail.com


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