Cafe shuts up shop

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By ROSE CAW­LEY

THREE com­mu­nity-minded friends brewed up an im­pres­sive dream – the Roskill Cof­fee Project.

The aim was to give young peo­ple who were strug­gling to get work a chance, by giv­ing them train­ing and work ex­pe­ri­ence.

Watch­ing them come out of their shells has been the best part of the job, co-founder and man­ager Paul Fletcher says.

The doors opened on their fair trade, so­cial en­ter­prise cafe last De­cem­ber but after a bit­ter­sweet year they are clos­ing.

Co-founder Anashuya Fletcher says the business in its cur­rent con­text isn’t sus­tain­able.

‘‘Poor Rowan sits there ev­ery week and looks at the fig­ures. He has done a su­perb job of keep­ing us go­ing,’’ she says.

‘‘But there are too many days where it is just too hard,’’ she says.

How­ever, this isn’t the end of the road for the trio’s cafe dreams.

Paul says they will be up and run­ning in a new Mt Roskill lo­ca­tion within the next 18 months.

‘‘We want to come back even stronger,’’ he says.

‘‘All the value-based stuff will come with us. We want to grow on some of it, like our con­nec­tion with We Com­post has made us think about how we can min­imise our en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact.’’

Paul says they will use this time to per­fect their come­back.

‘‘What­ever we de­cide to do has to be for the next 10 years so we need to make solid foun­da­tions and that takes time,’’ he says.

‘‘At the end of it we need to be able to com­pete in that cafe mar­ket.’’

That was one of big­gest driv­ing fac­tors be­hind the decision to shut up shop at the lo­ca­tion be­hind the Wes­ley com­mu­nity cen­tre, the 30-year-old says.

‘‘To com­pete we need a full kitchen. That is a sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ment of say $120,000.’’

He says they had to ques­tion the prac­ti­cal­ity of pour­ing that kind of money into the cur­rent coun­cil-owned space.

‘‘We love this set­ting but if there isn’t a mar­ket on and it isn’t a sunny day then it is quite isolating.’’

He says Auck­land Coun­cil has been in­cred­i­bly sup­port­ive of their business and its com­mu­nity fo­cus.

Giv­ing dis­ad­van­taged young peo­ple an op­por­tu­nity to work in the cafe and gain some ex­pe­ri­ence has been a high­light, Paul says.

‘‘I can’t be­lieve that th­ese young peo­ple have been strug­gling to find an op­por­tu­nity,’’ he says.

‘‘See­ing them thrive, it is just the stuff you live for.’’

Fif­teen young peo­ple have come through the Roskill Cof­fee Project work ex­pe­ri­ence pro­gramme.

‘‘All that have fin­ished it have found em­ploy­ment.’’

Barista Ke­saia Sisi, 20, learnt about cof­fee and the in­dus­try from Paul.

‘‘It was pretty scary com­ing in here, I knew noth­ing and it was the first job I’d ever had in my en­tire life,’’ she says. ‘‘This cafe is way dif­fer­ent to any­thing else, it’s more than a cafe.

‘‘I love com­ing in here to work. I don’t know what I will do next.’’


Clos­ing shop: Founders Anashuya Fletcher, Rowan Jo­han­son and Paul Fletcher are clos­ing the doors on The Roskill Cof­fee Project.

Last call: Roskill Cof­fee Project em­ployee Ke­saia Sisi, 20, is serv­ing up some of her last brews at the cafe.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.