Elizabeth Werner, from Asphalt to Bricks & Mortar

Starting a new business is difficult, challenging and quite stressful at the best of times. Starting a new business during a pandemic is beyond imagination, yet for Elizabeth Werner, it was simply another phase in her life.

Her latest venture is a new store on Queen Street in Port Perry called, ‘That Place on Queen’. Formerly Queen Beans and Eco Port, Elizabeth bought the business, as the previous owners wanted to retire.

“I’ve always wanted to own and operate a retail business,” Elizabeth said. Her current venture, the Asphalt Cookie Company, is doing well, but operates from her home. It was time to expand.

Elizabeth Werner was born in Vancouver, and at the age of 11 months, moved with her family to Scarborough. “It was a long trek,” she recalled. “I spent most of it asleep on the back dash of my parent’s car.” She paused, “It was before seatbelts were mandatory, or possibly even installed.”

Her father, a minister, was transferred to Hamilton after a five year stint in Toronto. Then they moved the family to Winnipeg, where Elizabeth lived until she was 23.

High school years included a part-time job at Wendy’s and participation in the school musicals. She also filled in an application, and was accepted, to the general science program at the University of Manitoba.

After a year, Elizabeth decided she wanted to pursue engineering, something she had always been interested in. She switched schools to Red River Community College and the engineering course. With her Wendy’s experience behind her, it was easy to land a part-time job as a waitress at the chicken and rib place near the arena, in Winnipeg.

Successful graduation landed her a position at an engineering firm, but Elizabeth was missing the life of Toronto and a big city. She applied for a position at a Mississauga firm and was accepted. It was while working there, she met her future husband, Roy, who was also an engineer for a different firm. A few years later, the couple were married.

The early nineties were difficult times in the engineering and construction business, due to the recession, which had cost many people their houses. The company Elizabeth worked for had gone into receivership, but Elizabeth quickly found a position with the City of Mississauga and continued to work a few years after her first son was born. She decided to become a stay at home mom, and two years later the happy couple had a baby girl.

Elizabeth and Roy wanted to raise their kids outside of the GTA, preferably on some acreage. They landed in Blackstock on ten acres, which was a great place to raise a family. Things were going well, and after her daughter started kindergarten, Elizabeth decided to go back to work, starting at an engineering firm in Newcastle.

“It was tougher than I thought,” she said. “Every time I needed to pick up the kids at school, because of illness, or school closings, I would have to take time off.”