JohnStood560Renovations are just about complete on the new, expanded Rabbit Dash storefront that owner Jon Hepplewhite (pictured) says will sell records, tea bags, coffees and items that will help customers brew at home.

Megan Dunn, Saugeen Shores Hub

A final touch of red exterior paint will, for the most part, complete the renovations at Rabbit Dash’s extended storefront, as the coffee shop expanded its brand by purchasing the property next door, the former Elyse Salon.

Since opening three and a half years ago, owner Jon Hepplewhite has tried to keep up with the demand and was thrilled when the opportunity for a bigger space opened up next door.

“I've made a lot of changes over the years. Every change I've tried to add seating or when that wasn’t possible in an organized way, I added standing room and I've kind of maxed that out. Basically every time I've added more seating, it’s never been enough,” said Hepplewhite, September 2.

Hepplewhite added that the expansion took minimal work and that the previous proprietors had done an amazing job making the space beautiful, bright and open; and even left a few wall displays for Rabbit Dash to use. “I couldn't wish for a better opportunity than just knocking some holes through the wall.”

Hepplewhite said he tried to make the new space open enough so they can re-arrange the room to specifically suit whatever is happening, as it can be used for hosting events such as small concerts, lectures, meetings, and CD release parties.

The expanded space will also house products such as brew equipment and retail items like coffee, tea, and syrups; and an expanded effort to showcase and sell vinyl as Hepplewhite said they’ve started carrying records “in a big way” and have a “little bit of everything.”

“So something of a record store, which is great,” Hepplewhite said. “We always did have records but it was a very small selection of used records but right now records are coming back in such a huge way.”

Hepplewhite said Rabbit Dash tries to cover all the genres as well as ages from remastered classics, right up to current releases. “We’re always trying to build up our inventory.”

Rabbit Dash is still sticking by its classics - and that is coffee - but now customers will be able to make their favourite flavours at home. The summer’s introduction of “Hippie Bowls”, quinoa-inspired salads that come in three flavours, have been a hit with customers, with Hepplewhite saying he’s only received positive comments. The Hippie Bowls will soon have a spot on the giant menu board that currently houses the popular waffle choices. And in the fall be on the look-out for Portuguese Custard Tarts, which will be making an appearance.

Inside 560The new, expanded space at Rabbit Dash, the former Elyse Salon, offers more seating options and the space can be used for functions such as a recent CD release party.

WindowShot560Jon Hepplewhite, owner of Rabbit Dash, is using his newly expanded space to increase his record inventory, saying that vinyl is coming back.

DSCF0392The expansion took minimal work as the previous proprietors already had wall displays in place for retail stock as well as a bright and open space.