Enjoying a cup of freshly made café-quality coffee has long been considered a luxury for residents in Quaama, with nowhere in the small village to buy one - but that is about to change.
Two small Far South Coast businesses have taken a collaborative approach to setting up the Quaama Community Coffee Caravan, which is expected to open within the next fortnight.
Ellie and Andrew Newton, owners of Quaama General Store and LPO, and James Bristow, owner of Valiant Coffee in Cobargo, entered into a partnership with the mutual feeling the community, still in the throes of bushfire recovery, needed another space to gather together as a part of their everyday lives.
Donating the use of land adjoining the store and taking on preparation of the food to be sold at the coffee van, Ellie said she and Andrew were excited about what the initiative would bring to the community.
"People often gather out the front of the general store to talk, this will give them what I hope can be a good healing space," Ellie said.
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The couple invested everything they had in Quaama General Store and LPO one year before the Black Summer bushfires. They are open more than 60 hours per week, across seven days, while also raising their two grandchildren.
For three weeks following the fires Ellie and Andrew kept the store up and running with the use of generators, taking pies to the fire shed to keep emergency responders and community volunteers going.
"This van has been a long time in the making and council have now given their wholehearted support for the project."
James Bristow has managed the successful Valiant Coffee van in Cobargo since November 2019 and said he could see Quaama needed a good hangout space, as well as a decent brew of coffee.
"I was generously given a 1969 caravan from a local woman who lost her house in the fires and I saw the opportunity to refurbish the van and bring it back full circle to Quaama as a coffee van," James said.
Quaama Community Coffee Caravan has been planned as a community enterprise, and James intends for all profits to go back into a nominated group in the village.
"We want to set this up in a realistic way, so nobody is stretched so far that they will break. I would love a couple of baristas to operate it once it's setup," James said.
Ellie said private donations from Cobargo community as well as the investment she and Andrew had made so far had helped to get the project to its current stage, having had no success in obtaining grants since the treacherous Black Summer.
"There have been some enormous roadblocks and we couldn't have afforded it without that support," Ellie said.
"And of course, James has put so much into this, it's got to be well supported."
James said the potential for the community enterprise model to generate an income stream for Quaama was a huge plus, and he was looking into having the project auspiced by an existing community group.
"I am really grateful for the assistance of many helpers to get the van operational," he said.
James said it was anticipated the van will be running within the next fortnight and an opening event with music and entertainment would mark the occasion.
He encouraged local baristas to approach him if they were interested in running the van, by visiting Valiant Coffee in Cobargo or calling him on 0439 627 943.
Opening hours of Quaama Community Coffee Caravan will be 6.30am-1.30pm Monday to Friday.
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