Pallet Coffee Roasters opened in the East Village just last summer, and since then have quickly established themselves as one of the hottest café destinations in the city. Tucked away on Semlin Drive just off Hastings, the shop has undeniable curb appeal – with a modern meets industrial vibe that will definitely have you looking twice. We recently sat down with Pallet’s operations manager Shane Dehkhodaei, and he explained that when searching for the perfect space for the business, it wasn’t exactly an easy choice to make. “By chance, this specific location was really a fluke for us,” he says. “When we looked at this area originally, we couldn’t find a proper space at all. We were close to making an offer on a place in Mount Pleasant, then all of a sudden this came as a referral through a friend who said “oh a friend of mine has this space, it’s pretty beaten up, maybe not bad…” My background is construction, so as soon as I saw the potential of what this place could be, it had good bones. But aesthetically it really wasn’t too nice.” And he isn’t kidding. What was once a dusty old concrete box has been completely transformed into a sleek and minimalist space, housing both a roastery and retail shop serving delicious Benchmark coffee, fresh pastries and lunch items. When we ask Shane what he likes most about his job, he chuckles and smiles. “You know, retail can be difficult, being here and running it everyday. It’s not always easy,” he says. “But when someone comes and says ‘I just love your coffee,’ or ‘this latte just made my day,’ when you hear something like that, even if you’ve had this twelve hour day and you’re super tired… that kind of thing for me is like, I’m on the right track, and it makes me feel good that the customer is enjoying it and they’re loving our product.” Shane says it’s the strong level of diversity and backgrounds that really make up our community, and the customers he sees everyday in his shop. “We weren’t looking for some type of niche neighborhood,” he says. “I think we were actually looking for a place that was developing and coming around a bit. I really like this area because it’s really diverse. Just walking up and down Hastings you’ll see how many different ethnicities and types of businesses there are. For us it’s important to be somewhere like that. We wanted to be a place that caters to everybody, every social background.” “I also really like where the area is heading,” he adds. “More and more people are moving in here, and it’s just becoming even greater. We’re proud to be a part of that, and grow with that. We love seeing other businesses, even coffee business, coming into the area. It’s a great thing for everybody.” Visit Pallet at 323 Semlin Drive, and check out their website for more info.