By Matthew Horwood
Despite a year of setbacks, The SconeWitch is finally serving fresh pastries from its fourth location, located in Westboro.
Heather Matthews, owner of The SconeWitch, said the store had wanted to “hit the ground running” when she signed its lease in early 2020, but had to delay its opening until Jan. 22, 2021 due to the pandemic.
The SconeWitch sells ten different varieties of fresh and frozen scones, produced at their Cyrville location and baked at the stores all day long. They sell a special flavour every month, such as caramel apple in August, blueberry in September and pumpkin in October. The locations also serve espresso, coffee, tea and sandwiches.
The SconeWitch started in 2004 when Matthews purchased and fixed up a small vacant building on Cyrville Road. Since then, the company has opened locations on Elgin Street, Beechwood Avenue and, most recently, at 393 Winston Ave. in Westboro.
Matthews had initially planned only to operate the store for a few years but, sixteen years later, she is still not ready to quit.
“I jokingly say that I’m semi-retired: I only work 40 hours a week,” she said.
Ever since the first location opened, people had been asking Matthews when they would launch a store in Westboro. Initially, she was not at all interested.
“In my experience, shopping in Westboro is fine if you have the time to look around, but if you want to stop and pick things up then it’s a pain in the neck to find a place to park.”
But when the space on Winston Avenue became available, Matthews saw the building had parking for several cars and street parking. It was the perfect spot to set up a new location.
The SconeWitch has faced several setbacks during what Matthews described as a “very trying year.” Their main freezer broke down several times during the middle of 2020 and had to be replaced. The delivery van got rear-ended and was written off. And Matthews said she paid for a year’s lease on the Westboro location without making any money and was not eligible for a rent rebate from the government because the store wasn’t operational.
Like many restaurants, the closing of indoor dining meant The SconeWitch had to pivot its operations. They modified the website to allow for home delivery of frozen scones, fresh jams, and house-blend coffees and tea on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Matthews said they had two drivers doing eighty deliveries a day during their busiest times, but, with restrictions recently being loosened, they are down to twenty drops a day.
The Westboro location has not yet opened for indoor dining, as construction continues on its dining room. In the meantime, Matthews said the store is a great location, and she’s enjoying serving fresh scones in Westboro.
The SconeWitch’s Westboro location is currently open Wednesday to Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.