Say Hello to Glen Innes' newest Locals
To say 2020 has been a wild year is an understatement! But before we jump into how Pete and I made the “tree-change” and opened a business in the middle of a global pandemic, I’ll start by introducing myself and my husband.
I’m Kate, I’m a 28-year old transport engineer, researcher, teacher and now co-owner of The Local Glen Innes. Three months ago I’d never made a coffee in my life and now I rock up to work 5 days a week adjusting the coffee grind and steaming milk like pro. There is something about being thrown in the deep end that brings out unknown skill sets.
My husband Peter on the other hand, has some experience in hospitality but it’s cocktails rather than coffee that’s his speciality. Pete’s been working in bars for the past 10 years, paying his way through uni which is where we met almost 9 years ago. It was clear engineering wasn’t his “thing” so he focused on building up his drink making skills to open up his own bar. Which he did! Image 1: Kate and Pete
In 2018, Tandem opened its doors. As a scandi-inspired cocktail bar in Sydney’s Inner West. Tandem had just the right level of “hygge” a Danish word that that engenders the feelings of cosiness, contentment and enjoy life's simple pleasures. It was a perfect place for Peter to live his passion of "bringing people together”. I’d been heavily involved in the set up, and helped out at Tandem where I could so when my research wasn’t always going to plan I’d say “can’t we just open another bar and I’ll come work for you?”.
Image 2: Getting ready to open Tandem
Peter always told me to be patient and in 5 years or so we could relocate. The plan was Armidale where I could work at the university and help him set up another business. I was excited at the prospect of another project where I could follow my passion of “brings people’s ideas (whatever they may be) to life!”
My current focus was our wedding making it as handmade and full of feeling as possible. So 2020 started with the count down for the 29th Feb. In hindsight we were incredibly lucky to have snuck in the wedding before the COVID outbreak. We had 100 guests, some from Europe and the US, and it was all we could have dreamed of – a farm wedding, family and friends, a late summers day.
Why is our wedding important? Well that is where The Local journey really began.
A few days after the wedding we flew out for our honeymoon in Singapore and the Maldives. Again, we were so lucky to have the opportunity to travel before the boarders were closed. Mid-way through the trip the first wave of COVID hit Australia and we were required to do 14 day “home quarantine” upon our return. Image 3: Our wedding by Louise Brown
So instead of spending 2 weeks in our tiny, dark one-bedder in Sydney’s inner-west we drove straight up to the family farm and did our isolation from the sunny little cottage atop Cherry Tree Hill. During this 2 weeks Peter’s cocktail bar in Sydney (Tandem) was forced to close and all of a sudden there was no rush to head back to Sydney.
So we stayed. I broke my arm (the least crazy thing to happen in 2020), we bought our Great Dane Henri and I picked up some contract work with the council hoping to make some connections within the town. Peter kept himself busy by working on his “future” business concept for Glen Innes – “The Community”. As months passed it became clear neither of us wanted to head back to the big smoke. The country air, the winter frosts, the friendly people and the quality of life was exactly what we wanted and our 5 year planned seemed too far away.
Image 4: Playing with Henri at Cherry Tree
Then an opportunity came up. The much-loved Café Cuisine Café had closed its doors with owners Mark and Ann headed back to Tassie. I remember the day we found out there was a fully equipped kitchen space available, Peter and I looked at each other and knew this was the moment. We called the agent that night and found out there had been four other interested parties – all the planning Peter had done of the past 3 months got us in the door.
Now we had a space, a business plan and a vision. But we weren’t sold on the name. After such a horrific bushfire season, severe drought and now the pandemic the word “community” had been thrown around a lot. It no longer held the sense of togetherness we had once envisioned; it was almost too politically correct. So we set about for another more casual way to express togetherness and came up with The Local Glen Innes.
Image 5: The Local Logo
We got the keys at the end of June and then the race was on to get everything ready to open doors in 6 weeks. We were lucky enough to find an awesome team - young, but with many years combined experience. The biggest moment was our coffee machine install – that was the moment everything started looking like a café. The rest of the fit out went smoothly with many days spent painting and setting up.
Image 6: Family Painting Party
And then finally the big day - 8th August 2020 - the day The Local opened its doors. Its been a rollercoaster to get here and I’m sure we are in for a wild ride in the months ahead but I would not have it any other way.
Stay tuned for most posts about our business ethos, our food, our team and our journey as Glen Innes’ newest Locals.
See you around,
Image 7: Opening Day