Photos by: Kat Grabowski @artandtheaerialist
Meet Ashley and Mike, the visionaries and owners behind Land Cafe & Studio. Together, this dynamic duo turned their love for good food, great coffee, and passion for yoga into a one of a kind cafe & studio concept along Chilliwack’s stunning Vedder River.
If you’ve ever found joy in a cozy cafe, sought out delicious vegetarian friendly menus, or discovered solace through yoga’s embrace, then you’re in for a treat. Step into a place where the aroma of freshly brewed coffee mingles with the spirit of adventure and know that you’ve found a new place to Land.
We recently sat down with Ashley and Mike to learn more about how a life-altering trip to SouthEast Asia, India, and New Zealand inspired them to create Land and learn why Land Cafe is a ‘must-stop’ for visitors and locals alike.
1. Introduce yourself! Tell us a bit about you.
“Hi, we’re Ashley and Mike Duret. Pretty much Land is a reflection of us and all the things we love, good coffee, nourishing food, travel, adventure, FUN, moving our bodies, spiritual practice, so visit us there. We often have one or two kiddos on our hips, and they often have one or two cookies in their hands 🙂 We live just down the Vedder Rotary trail, and try to convince everyone we know to move to Chilliwack!”
2. Could you share the story behind Land and what inspired you to start the business?
“About 8 years ago we decided it was time for us to leave our ‘normal’ and set off on a year-long, life-altering trip to SouthEast Asia, India, and New Zealand. (Side note – if you haven’t traveled overseas, go read Rolf Potts Vagabonding and get inspired to open up your world!).
We rode trains, TukTuks, camels, and taxis, carrying everything we needed in our heavy backpacks. While traveling is exciting, adventurous, and fun, it’s also stretching, and at moments stressful and exhausting.
When we would finally arrive at a new spot, we would instantly look for a place to land. This often looked like a cafe that had other fellow travelers, nourishing food and refreshing drinks. These spots were little oases, retreats, places where you could take off your backpack, get refreshed, forget about the heat and dust and sweat, swap stories and get inspired to continue on the journey.
Our favourite places combined stunning locations (I’m remembering the cliffside cafe in Varkala, India), abundant and beautiful food and coffee (I’ll never forget the multi layered smoothies and creamy cappuccinos at Crate Cafe in Canggu), where new friendships and community seemed to spontaneously happen. BUT our all time favourite was a Yoga studio that had an outdoor cafe called the Yoga Barn in Ubud, Bali. After a 90 minute yoga class we would head over to the cafe and enjoy bright, beautiful food and coffee with our new yoga friends. We’d leave completely blissed out, feeling like we were floating three feet off the ground. Those experiences never left us. And now here we are, in a new chapter of the journey, at the right place with our scenic location, at the right time as the desire for healthy communities (and really good coffee) is growing in Chilliwack, and with the right people (YOU!).”
3. You have a yoga studio in your location, tell us a bit about that!
“We have a beautiful little 15 person studio in the back of the cafe. Having the studio in the back was intentional. A Yoga studio can be intimidating to walk into for the first time, even if you’ve been to other studios before, but especially if you haven’t. We were also sick of leaving a yoga class and chatting in the parking lot with friends for 45 min. Now, with Land, if you come with a friend, you can plan to come to a daytime class and grab lunch, coffee or a smoothie afterwards. It’s about that deeper level of connection to yourself but also others.
We have morning and evening classes 7 days a week, plus some mid-day classes. There’s different styles of yoga, whether you’re looking to calm your nervous system, integrate yoga as a balance to another sport, or really get your body and breath moving, there’s variety. We also have some not-yoga classes (ahem The Shift IYKYK) as well as some meditation classes and special events.”
4. For someone who has never been to your cafe or studio, describe what they can expect when they walk through the doors.
“We want it to be a vibrant space. Lots of life. Abundant food. Beautiful baking. Intentional music. Really, really good coffee.
There’s often people coming or going from a class, a group who has gotten there by bike, a reunion of friends, some people working away on laptops, and someone in the corner with a book!
We’re also overlooking the Chilliwack River and the River Valley so the sound of the river flowing right out our doors is pretty epic!”
5.Can you tell us about any signature drinks or menu items that have become customer favorites? What is your favorite item on the menu?
“Oh that’s not fair. I don’t think I could pick just one, and I also change my mind a lot. My go to coffee is a cappuccino. For breakfast, our most popular item is our Surfers Brekky Burrito, a tightly wrapped bundle of egg, guacamole, black beans, house-made salsa, pickled jalapenos, crispy tater tots, and a harissa mayo. It’s so satisfying. And right now, I’m really into our new Mediterranean Bowl, there’s just soooo many flavours happening in that one bowl!”
6. Hot yoga or regular yoga?
7. Can you tell us a bit about your life outside of Land?
“We have a 2.5 year old and a 10 month old so that keeps us pretty, um really, occupied. We stay close to home these days and a usual week includes a lot of backyard dinners, trail walks and river dips. We both like to put a wetsuit on and swim distances at Cultus Lake, and Mike mountain bikes on the local trails. We’ll meet friends at Sidekick on the patio or venture over to 1881 if we can get a babysitter and steal away for a date.”
8. What are some of your favourite local spots in Chilliwack?
“We love meeting friends by the river or the lake for a simple dinner, so the kids can run around. We’ve also been loving taking a little picnic to Whispering Horse Winery on the weekend, grabbing a bottle of wine from their tasting room, and hanging out at a picnic table under their oak trees. Otherwise, when not at Land, we’ll head to the Amble coffee truck or Smoking Gun for a coffee, to Sidekick or Field House for a beer, and to The Offy for a nice dinner out.”
9. Coffee or tea?
“Coffee in the morning, tea at night :)”
10. If the cafe/studio was a celebrity, what celebrity would it be?
“Oh man, I’m not a big follower of celebrities. K right off the top of my head…Drew Barrymore, but I don’t know modern Drew Barrymore, I mean, like 90’s Drew Barrymore. Laid back, a little bit hippie, a little bit quirky, and fun.”
11. What does your process look like for creating a new menu item?
“We’re long time friends with Bonnie, our chef, so we eat and cook together outside of Land. We’ve traveled together, cooked over many fires together, and shared many past issues of Bon Appetit. Our menu is travel-inspired and we love the same flavours so it’s not hard for us to agree on a new dish. Bonnie comes up with and creates all the dishes, and it’s usually just a “remember that time we ate this here?” and then Bonnie works her magic and creates a beautiful and flavourful dish.”
12. If you could start your own business all over again, what is one thing you would do differently?
“I mean, I LOVEEEEE my babies, but maybe I wouldn’t have a baby one month after opening our business. Haha.”
13. You sell some pretty awesome merch. Tell us about that!
“Thanks! I was a graphic designer in another life, have worked at a screen printing shop, and have designed merch for other businesses. It’s really fun for us, and it’s even more fun to see our stuff out in the wild!”
14. Looking ahead, do you have any plans for expansion, new offerings, or innovations at Land? Anything exciting that you would like to share?
“We can’t help it, we always have plans and ideas brewing, we love that part!
In the studio, we have a Fall Promo running for September, where you can get 50% off your first month as a member. We also have applications open for our next 200hr Yoga Teacher Training starting September 29th with Alexandria Waycott. Coming soon…Kids and Teen Yoga…but you can find most of this on our instagram or under “Happenings” on the website.
In the cafe, we’re dreaming up new Fall flavours (Salted Coconut Caramel?!?) and spices for allllll the things. You can follow us on instagram or our email list to see all the new menu items as we like to keep it fresh!
And follow us on instagram or join our email list to see all of our new menu items in the Cafe! We have a small menu, so we like to rotate the dishes and drinks as we get inspired! Right now we have SO MANY yummy [coffee and not coffee] cold drinks for Summer!”
As you step into Land, you’re not just entering a café – you’re immersing yourself in the passions and dreams of Ashley and Mike Duret.
From their globetrotting escapades to their love for community, nourishing food, and inviting yoga, every aspect of Land reflects their zest for life. Whether you’re savoring freshly brewed coffee, finding comfort in yoga, or connecting with friends, Land invites you to experience Ashley and Mike’s journey. It’s more than a café – it’s a vibrant canvas where their unique adventure comes to life.
Visit them in-store: 8am – 4pm Tuesday – Sunday Located at #102 – 45530 Vedder Mountain Road
Visit them online: https://www.aplaceto.land/
Follow them on Instagram: @landstudioandcafe