Last week I brought you a little intro to one of my fave cafes (and one that I should visit more often), E for Ethel. I interviewed owner-operators Amanda and Dan one afternoon way back in May and we chatted for so long that I decided to split my article about it in two. Now, I’m uber excited to bring you part two!
Lauren (me): Have you found the Adelaide business community to be a supportive one? How have you found building partnerships and relationships with other local businesses?
Dan: Yeah, I’d say there’s a lot of businesses out there that are supportive of new businesses. A lot of the newer businesses are really supportive actually, so there’s definitely a community feel. And lots of people were able to share tips and hints and that was good. Knowing there’s support there is nice.
Amanda: And we had all that before we opened as well, you know. We would just go to cafes and do research and hang out and chat to owners and a lot of them are people we work with now in terms of suppliers because they were really open and willing to share and willing to sit down and just chat about stuff. There is definitely an older business mindset that isn’t as supportive to small businesses and businesses like ours – I think they think we’re just crazy hippies or something, but that’s okay. Definitely within our circle, we’re surrounded by businesses that are really supportive.
D: The council has been a great support and their networks have been really supportive, which is good.
A: Yeah, Adelaide City Council have been really good and especially through their Placemaking initiative. Melbourne Street‘s been identified as one of their pilot projects for the Placemaking program, so it means there are a lot of opportunities and there’s a lot of support out there and big conversations happening which is really cool. It just feels like there’s about to be a change down here and it’s a real chance for the community to make it their own and for businesses to start doing new stuff, so it feels good.
L: Great! So what sorts of areas do you see opportunities for growth and new businesses/ventures in Adelaide, or Melbourne Street in itself even?
A: Melbourne Street needs so much more!
D: Yeah, with Melbourne Street we feel like it has a lot of potential but it just needs a few key businesses.
A: It needs a newsagency – the one that was just on the corner out there has been closed for a couple of years now – and it needs a little local continental kinda deli.
D: Maybe a few cool bars.
Amanda: Yeah we’ve got all these big pubs, which have their place and they do their thing but yeah, some little cosy bars would complement them well. Hopefully some of the stuff going on in the CBD will start to branch out and happen up here too.
D: I think part of the Placemaking thing is determining what areas need and working towards that; actively seeking it out rather than just taking what comes.
A: They’re also helping in negotiations with landlords too which I think is really important for small business because quite often you don’t know what you’re signing up for or what you’re stepping into and sometimes that can work really well and sometimes not so much. But the council have been really supportive in that regard which is great.
L: What are some of your favourite local businesses?
D: Well, we love Sarah next door at Clarity massage. She’s become a friend of ours just through everyday interaction and seeing each other around. There’s a lot of people like that actually. Justine who was in here before, she’s from a hairdresser’s just out there.So yeah, it’s just grown from people who come in here and say hello. We like to offer support to those around us. We’ve been quite lucky I think. Most people we’ve worked with have been really supportive and have a more collaborative mindset.
L: What do you think is the importance/role of small business and keeping things local in a society dominated by big business, and a city that’s undergoing so much change in itself?
D: I think we need small business so much; it keeps things personal. I think you need small business to balance out all the big businesses. It’s a bit tricky these days because the big businesses are just getting so big that it’s hard to compete but there are always ways around that. Doing things slightly differently, offering something that people can’t get from bigger companies all helps. People still need connections. It’s nice to go into a place and know that the people are going to be nice and friendly and know who you are. I mean, you can get that in bigger businesses but it’s a lot harder. You’ve got a bit more freedom to move around within small business, to make things your own.
I just want to say thanks again to both Dan and Amanda for being so welcoming and open and sharing their story with me. If you know of a local business/person/initiative that you think I should focus an article on, please do leave a comment below and I’ll try to get onto it on the ASAP!
Until next time, lovelies,