Skip to content

‘Labour of love’ to serve its last drop

South Surrey barista to fold his King George Boulevard teepee

Holy Smoke Coffee owner Al Nemeth, 66, will roast his final brew June 9.

Nemeth, a talkative character who enjoys interacting with customers who stop by his teepee storefront at the Timberland & Motel Campground (3418 King George Blvd.), said his time operating the business has been a “labour of love.”

“I’m not a businessman by any stretch of the imagination,” he told Peace Arch News over a cup of his Guatemalan-sourced coffee last Friday.

“It’s been OK. I’ve got a good pension that pays most of my bills. This pays for an extra bottle of wine, take the wife out for dinner sometimes.”

He garnered an interest in roasting coffee beans from his father, who roasted his own blend for most of his life.

Nemeth was working a steady union job when he decided to turn his passion into a business.

“We went on strike, one of the guys on the picket line told me the teepee was for rent, we came and we looked at it,” he said.

For the past 15 years, Nemeth has been stationed at the recognizable teepee – which replaced a makeshift one in 1995 – for four hours a day, making anywhere from $30 to $100 a shift.

Though he enjoys interacting with his customers, he said “enough is enough,” and would like to spend more time with his grandchildren and tackling his bucket-list – a trip to the pyramids in Egypt.

“What I would like to say is this – to all my hundreds of customers – thank you. Some of you I haven’t seen in a long time – stop on by if you can. I’m here for another week.”

He said a factor that did not play into his decision to close shop was the anticipated closure of Timberland Motel & Campground.


About the Author: Aaron Hinks

Read more