Kent Street Weir is a little known part of the gorgeous city of Perth. I found this great little article on Weekend Notes - have a read below, and book yourself for a cup of tea after your walk.
So many cafes have been springing up - primarily in response to the need for food and coffee at anytime anywhere. As people, we seek out and actually foster little moments in a day, we develop them as part of our daily rhythm. How many of us say that we are not awake until we have had our daily coffee - and so to ensure that the need is not interrupted we set ourselves up with a regular spot to go - or two, or three, that we have for different times of the day or mood we may be in.
The thing is we like to think that its all about the coffee or the sandwich or the donut - and these factors do play a part & we can discuss the importance of these items down the track, but one of the key factors in how a cafe plays a part for you in your life is based purely on relationships.
How many of us meet friends or family at these little cosy nooks around the world? How many of us seek out the familiarity of the barista? The smile of the lady or gent on the till - the one who remembers my name as I pay the money for my 'oh so delicious pick me up' hot drink?
We do that right?
Why because it is all about relationship - we crave it so much we willingly and openly engage in these businesses because they either support us in those little interactions or we develop that part of us knows that if we keep going there we start to feel comfortable, recognised and remembered.
What are we looking for?
Yes coffee use and 'need' is climbing through the roof to fend off our exhaustion yet what we crave underneath all of that is true relationships - with ourselves and all others.
We search day in day out for this connection and it seems a bit crazy that we don't apply as much commitment and dedication to building the relationship with ourselves with as much investment as we make for our daily coffee.
Jamie Dix and Lee Green (me) started working together back in January 2009 in that time we have run three cafes in amazing locations along the rivers of Perth. One of them is Canning River Café a wonderful space built adjacent to the Eco Centre inside the Canning River Regional Park.
Perth is a year long summer sort of place, the alfresco design of the café is a home away from home – with some minor adjustments through out the year – Cool Mist misting system fitted to help with the heat on those high 30degree days and blankets and heaters for those days when the rain and cold pop in.
This small space was offered by Canning City Council sometime back in early 2011. I remember initially looking at the space and saying to my business partner ‘it’s too small we won’t be able to make it work.’ Jamie is good for making me work a little bit harder and dig a little deeper so after some more thought and discussion we set about putting in our bid. I remember the tipping point for us was when we were invited into the Chambers of Council to present on why we should run the café as a business.
Our business philosophy is really very simple – run a profitable business that supports local community, suppliers and our teams of employees. We stuck with this and still do as our benchmark of how well we are going. The evening arrived for the presentation and we had organised a small tasting plate of food to be served to each and every councilor – and this was a hit. Not least the taste but the fact that it showed we were prepared to go the extra mile and put ourselves out there.
We were granted the lease and after the negotiations we were there at the front door with the keys and a bit of a plan. You spend a lot of money on creating these businesses and one of the most amazing things is that you have to trust. Note in the famed business world you must do your counts of walkers on by, gauge the amount of people that will be in the area at any given time etc. What we found were a few dog walkers in the mornings and late afternoons – nothing really to suggest that this was a thriving opportunity – yet we trusted and set about our work.
Many suppliers supported us to get ready in time Lenny’s Commercial Kitchen’s were integral in bringing the equipment and foundation together. They supported us every step of the way. And as things started to go in, the space got smaller and smaller, we were an outside café essentially. The doors opened on the 14th December 2011 – we had no furniture – it was delayed and would arrive a day later. It didn’t matter we had great support from a few and the till actually took some money – albeit a very small amount.
Interestingly that first and second year were literally hand to mouth and we struggled to stay afloat – again much support from our suppliers is appreciated and Jamie and myself put our hands in our pockets on more than one occasion to let us fly another day.
It has been a fascinating growth for me, for all of us, opening here at Canning River. The beautiful relationships we have formed with many people in the community is the sure sign we have achieved ‘success’. The people we have employed over the last three years has truly helped us shape and build ourselves into a worthy stop for many locals and a treat for visitors from far and wide, inside and outside of the state.
To all of our suppliers and our customers we thank you and deeply appreciate the support that you have given us.