Student stories

Business alumna helped grow local restaurant Nourish during her work terms

Katherine Murphy

Nourish

At 25, Katherine Murphy is the General Manager of a multi-million dollar local business. The business co-op alumna spent each of her work terms helping nurture a young restaurant named Nourish - she was instrumental in helping it grow into the success it is today. 

When I was first looking for my original co-op placement before entering the BCom program I was looking for a restaurant to do my placement in, with the ideal of finding a business that was small and still in the start up phase. My secret vision was that I would be able to be a part of growing the business as well as be involved in the creation of food culture in Victoria. Food has always been the cornerstone of my family and the main way we created connections, taught values, and fostered a family environment.

It was by sheer serendipity during that time that I met Hayley Rosenberg, the owner of Nourish. Nourish was located at the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific in Saanich, it had seven tables, casual counter service and a four burner electric range to cook on. It had been open for 8 months. With values that echoed my own, Nourish was involved in the local community, harvested some of the vegetables grown on site at the garden centre and was very much in the start up phase of business. It was a perfect fit. In the beginning we were open five days a week, Hayley and I were the only two employees and we carpooled to work together every morning. 

Started with no capital investment every step of growing Nourish has taken creativity, problem solving and a huge amount of determination. From day one I was invited into being a part of that growth. My first 8 months with the business were intensive and full time. It was after these 8 months that I began my first semester at Gustavson - I remember looking around my class in those first few months and wondering if anyone else was realizing just how relevant the information that we were being given was. I know for a fact that without my prior involvement in Nourish I would not have taken nearly as much value from my courses. 

Over the winter break Hayley and I spent each day at our favourite coffee shop where we worked our way through the marketing plan I had been given in class with David Boag. We very literally wrote the first official draft of the business plan based on that outline. The business plan that we wrote that December allowed us to formulate our vision enough to re-open the following spring with the concept for the restaurant that Nourish has now become. 

We now own two bustling restaurants, one downtown and one still located at the Horticulture Centre in Saanich. The Garden restaurant still has a 4 burner stove but has grown to 50 seats, full service, and regularly sees 150 guests for Sunday brunch each week. Our downtown location is in a beautiful 3 story heritage home where we hope to host workshops, conferences, as well as fill our open and airy dining room with happy people who are eating food that fuels that body. We have 35 employees between the two locations and I have been fortunate enough to grow with this every changing and exceptional business. 

At 25, I find myself the General Manager of a multimillion dollar small local business. Throughout my time at Gustavson the single most valuable part of my education was the hands on experience that I gained through my co-ops. There is no doubt in my mind that if I had not had the opportunity to be a part of this business from the beginning I would be in a very different stage of life now. Throughout my time at Gustavson I was allowed to complete all of my co-op positions at Nourish. Although students are normally encouraged (and usually only permitted) to do all of their co-ops at different businesses it was agreed that the opportunity to grow and evolve in different roles through the growth of Nourish would meet the educational requirements of the co-op program. 

For this I would like to say thank you, the program you are a part of was a huge stepping stone to getting me to where I am now. I am also interested in knowing if there is a way to become involved in helping spread my success story through the co-op program to help strengthen the program and inspire students to look for positions that will help move them towards their long term goals beyond fulfilling a requirement. 

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