New owners for 560 North Road

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Wednesday, March 4 2020

(L-R) Bram Dams and Jen Demler with their son August; Rebecca Furnell and her partner Alex Dewar - the new owners of 560 North Road, home of Robert’s Place and the GABE Shop. Derek Kilbourn photo


The property where Robert’s Place and the Gabe Shop reside is under new ownership.

Rebecca Furnell, her partner Alex Dewar, along with Jen Demler, and her partner Bram Dams, have purchased the property from Stephen Berthelot and Brenda Fowler.

Furnell and Demler are born-and-raised Gabriolans, their partners from Nanaimo, all currently reside on Gabriola.

The sale of the property went through on January 31, 2020.

Demler and Furnell said there will be no change for tenants - they will continue to operate under their existing leases.

“We’ve purchased this property as a recently formed local corporation, entirely separate from any other business ventures.”

The foursome are well known on Gabriola for operating as Ground Up - which fills the food needs of Gabriolans at the Saturday and Wednesday markets during the spring and summer. Demler says Ground Up will continue business as usual.

She said they decided to purchase the property as a long-term investment for ourselves and to keep us anchored to the island. 

“We also want to ensure the services at 560 North road remain as a valued staple in the community.”

Before Robert’s Place, the restaurant space has been D’Pizza, Windeckers, and Suzy’s - always a restaurant frequented by locals. 

The Gabe Shop site has also provided the community with many different services, including an automotive shop (that Demler’s dad Jim worked in as a mechanic), it was also Maranatha fish shop, and the original incarnation of The Roxy.

Demler said the property holds lots of fond memories for her and Rebecca, being built in 1984, a year after they were born. 

Jen remembers walking to the auto shop after school and her dad taking her to D’Pizza for rootbeer floats. Alex has also previously worked in the kitchen at Robert’s. 

Demler said it, “feels like full-circle.”