Nancy Roy, Owner of Roy Lane Coffee
I was born a Gemini, June 8, 1953. I was born in Almonte, Ontario, which is known as the Ottawa Valley, but I was raised in Northbrook Ontario. Because I was a foster child, I moved a few times, and went to Flinton Public School, North Addington High, Trenton High, and finally to Queen Elizabeth High School in Sioux Lookout.
I arrived in Sioux Lookout in the summer of 1969 by train. I boarded the train in Bellville Ontario by myself as a 16-year-old to start a new life with my oldest sister and her husband who lived in the trailer court at the Radar Base. A year after arriving in Sioux Lookout my sister announced I would be on the move again, this time to Lethbridge, Alberta, as they would be transferring. After a little debate, I decided to stay in Sioux Lookout. I left school, and got a job and worked at the General Hospital in the office. I was able to live at the nurse’s residence above the hospital for $1.00 a day. Seventeen, and living in Sioux Lookout seemed so far away from Northbrook.
I met Jack Roy, my prince I call him, and we have been married for 46 years. We have two sons, and four grandchildren. Jack worked on the Railroad as an engineer, as did his father, and his brother. We bought and fixed up houses, built a new house, and kept busy with hockey and tennis. I was a stay at home mom for most of the boys growing up years, which was a full-time job cooking for two hungry growing boys and their friends that were always at our house.
Since Jack was a pretty good hockey player, there was no question the boys would be enrolled in hockey. Jack was the bread winner of the family, keeping us going with gas money, and paying for hotels to travel to many tournaments, while I developed a really good set of lungs – yelling and cheering the boys on at their games. These were the best memories a mother could have with a couple of amazing boys that I have always been proud to call my son’s. The boys left home at an early age to play hockey, which left Jack and I with the empty nest syndrome and I decided I needed a change.
I looked at our community and decided we were lacking a place to gather for coffee, or a latte or a cappuccino that was quaint, clean, friendly, inviting, and a place you could bring your friends, or family. I feel I have served our community well with all of the above. Many customers bring their visitors here, to show that we do have a nice place in Sioux Lookout to have great food, the best coffee, and the baking speaks for itself.
People ask how many years have I been here, or they are surprised to find this place here. Customers new to the area ask how I picked the name, was I born here, and some say Sioux Lookout would be lost without Roy Lane. My staff and I have been good to our community. We have brought beauty to areas such as our 100th Anniversary, a park, Cedar Bay, the Cemetery, the town clock, flowers, benches, cancer patients, and many other things behind the scene no one knows about. We love our community!
To own a business like this you have to build friendships with your customers. You have to give customers a reason to come back regularly. Staff is the key to any business, and I can say I have the BEST staff in Sioux Lookout. They work hard for me, they are never late, they never blow a shift, they are well dressed, polite, smart, and if they aren’t all of this in a package, they don’t last too long here. I work along side of them, and although people think I am never here, I am always in the dungeon either catering or baking. I am here 90 percent of the time.
The business is changing – people care about what they eat, or drink, and we try to accommodate to their needs. We try to use less processed meats. I cook a lot of the roasts and use fresh products. I bake from scratch. Our muffins and cookies are baked every day.
I’ve come along way since getting off that train in 1969. I think I have left my mark in Sioux Lookout, following a passion and serving our community well. I sure have had some fun here at Roy Lane. Thanks for coming with me on this venture. I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have. Cheers!
Staff at Roy Lane
Nancy Roy, Owner