Recently, the Leduc Boys and Girls Club felt the warm and generous hand of friendship from a brand new community neighbor. A large cheque was offered to the Club from a corporate entity that is no stranger to the concept of family.
On June 25, in the City of Leduc’s North end, the doors opened to the 130th CORA franchise in Canada. On Wednesday June the 27th, Cora Tsouflidou herself, a ‘grande dame’ of the Canadian restaurant industry, attended the Grand Opening of the 13th CORA franchise in Alberta, and graciously met and chatted with several patrons enjoying their hearty and healthy breakfasts.
Started 25 years ago in Côte-Vertu, a St. Laurent neighborhood in North Montreal, the CORA franchise got its start with a cozy 29-seat snack bar featuring a Bonjour! breakfast menu. Chez Cora, named after the founder. Cora Tsouflidou – and a sweet reminder of her beloved grandmother who was also a restaurateur, was a single mom of three kids and successful from the get-go, catering diligently to her patrons, and ingenuously creating new menu items based on her regulars’ expressed wishes. “Food like Mom used to make” included nice crêpes with homemade syrup, French toast with lots of fresh fruit, creative omelettes, shepherd’s pie, hearty soups and chicken stew with dumplings. With the opening of a second Chez Cora, a Laval diner, Cora’s dreams took flight, and a breakfast and lunch empire was born. In recent years, Cora’s website (ww.chezcora.com) and its colorful newsletter have become quite popular with connoisseurs of fresh country cuisine and healthy recipes with an inspiring undertone.
A mother of three children who each took part in the success and growth of her franchise of restaurants and the founder of one of Canada’s largest restaurant chains, Cora Tsouflidou is also an artist who loves to write, draw colorful menu signs and anything that crosses her fertile imagination, and in the beginning of her success, constantly strived to create attractive and delicious menu items. She wrote an interesting and candid autobiography “Breakfast with Cora” and is working on another book. She traveled from Quebec to Leduc simply to attend the grand opening of her newest franchise location, and to wish the owners all the best!
After warm welcome speeches from Leduc County’ Deputy Reeve John Schonewille and City of Leduc Deputy Mayor Glen Finstad, one of the CORA owners, John Wellheg announced that the Sunday June 24th soft opening’s proceeds were being donated to the Leduc Boys and Girls Club. John Norton, executive director of LBGC was present of course, having breakfast with a core group of youth coordinators, and stood to accept the iconic cheque in the amount of $2,816. John shared that one month ago, he was approached by an owner of the new Leduc CORA franchise, and since the restaurant has a strong family connotation, and the Boys & Girls is like a family, his club was offered the proceeds of that first unofficial day of operation that was tagged for ‘family and friends’. The Leduc CORA franchise is owned by the same group that owns the Gateway CORA in South Edmonton: John and his wife Ali (with two cute kids, a boy and a girl) and their partner Chris. While John and Ali supervised the myriad of details of the event while greeting patrons, Chris kept a sharp eye on the kitchen and the servers; they seem to make an energetic and well-honed team!
To everyone’s surprise and delight, the egg-breaking ceremony replaced the traditional ribbon-cutting ceremony. Several patrons and owners were handed an egg, and together they gathered around a large steel bowl, and broke their eggs together.
A group of men, clad in red shirts was quite noticeable, as they held a friendly meeting at a table near the front entrance: “Nerds On Site” from Red Deer, Sylvan Lake and Edmonton were hosted by the Leduc franchise owner, Kevin Lloyd. They all enjoyed their breakfasts, the buzz of this grand opening, and meeting city officials and potential clients. A variety of patrons enjoyed the morning at Cora’s, and many positive comments were heard, being shared among them or addressed to the serving team members. A young mother and two little kids, a table (or three) of ladies, business people, several Pipestone Flyer writers and of course, the Chamber of Commerce team and its congenial leader Stephanie Schultz.
With this presentation of a large contribution to the Boys and Girls Club’s operation, the owners of CORA have made their presence felt, and shown their kind heart towards their new neighbors, the families that use the B&G Club on a regular basis. This injection of funds is quite timely, as the Club is already into a busy summer schedule, full of summer programs, outings and fun activities. The Club’s management looks forward to a continued relationship with this new corporate neighbor, and sends its owners and Matriarch a heartfelt “Welcome to Leduc, Cora!”