Local Women Entrepreneurs Harness Technology to Breath New Life Onto Vancouver Island

May 08, 2024

3-in-1 hospitality and retail concept comes to the Campbell River waterfront

Vancouver Island is now home to a stunning new event venue, cocktail bar, caterer, retailer and florist, built on the values of Meraki, Greek for doing something with soul, creativity, or love. Nestled on the picturesque Campbell River waterfront, Meraki offers locals and visitors ethical skincare and artisan goods, seasonal floristry, and a vibrant plant-based cafe, tapas, and cocktail bar.

The business venture is the work of local entrepreneurs Lesley Assu (Standing Spruce), Karen Bezaire (Bezaire Floral) and Emese Toth-Harasztos (Freyja - The Croissant Story).

“Traditional businesses have been evolving for several years now, with restaurants offering retail items, and retailers offering special events or incorporating cafes into their stores,” said Toth-Harasztos. “The three of us have been looking for opportunities to collaborate, and we realized that a concept like this was a great way to bring each of our special offerings together under one exceptional roof. Ultimately, we want this to be a space for the local community to gather, feel welcomed and inspired.”

With Meraki encompassing events, food and beverage, and retail all under one umbrella, the entrepreneurs selected technology company Square as its partner to help bring the concept to life. Square’s extensive ecosystem of tools and services help the team to ensure seamless operations for a somewhat complicated business structure.

“Each of us was already using Square for our individual businesses, and we knew it was the only tech partner that could handle multiple business streams under one system,” said Toth-Harasztos. “With its seamless point of sale and tools that enable us to manage inventory, scheduling, invoicing, marketing and more, the choice was a no-brainer. It wasn’t even a discussion.”


Spanning 3,500 square feet of light-filled space with panoramic views of the Johnson Strait, Quadra Island, and Coast Mountains range, Meraki offers a serene haven inspired by the owners’ international travels. Boasting exposed concrete, white walls, quartz countertops and a plant-filled interior, the space blends natural textures and cosmopolitan flair.

The entire venture is rooted in the three women’s passion to share the care and joy they foster in their respective businesses with clientele. Meraki is also available for events and weddings—supported by in-house catering, floristry, and the ability to curate bespoke gift packages for guests and corporate events. The 800 square-feet patio with its coveted oceanfront position and access to the pedestrian walkway will be open in the warmer months.

For more information, visit merakinow.ca.