Vibrant cafe strip changing the flavour of Prince St
ADMIN assistant Margaret Clark has seen a lot happen in her corner of Prince St since 2013. Up until then that precinct, where her employer Computer Troubleshooters has been based since 2010, was pretty sleepy by CBD standards. But for the past three years she has seen the place transformed which she said was all down to the arrival of the cafes.
"It was very quiet at this end of Prince St," Margaret said. "You could always get a park out the front, but when the coffee shops came along it made a big difference. It's reinvigorated this whole section. It's also good for a caffeine addict like me."
Unless you have been sleeping under a rock, you will probably know it can be now near impossible to pull up with your vehicle at Fanning Corner and find a parking spot along that strip any more, even Sunday mornings can be a hard task.
The momentum for this newly found vibrancy came courtesy of the opening of two cafes; firstly the delightfully quirky Tilted Teaspoon swiftly followed by the feelgood wholefood operation Heart & Soul.
And as both cafes went from strength to strength they took the whole precinct along for the ride.
First espresso on the scene was Skye Harrison's vintage-style cafe Tilted Teaspoon which she set up in October 2013 after working in various hospitality roles developed a passion for making cakes and good coffee.
About a month later Heart & Soul opened up next door and while having two cafes operating in such close proximity could be seen as detrimental Skye said it has all worked out for the best.
"It's helped to create a hub. We're different places with different menus. We're the naughty one and they're the healthy one," she laughed.
Heart & Soul opened its doors on the night of the Jacaranda Queen Crowning in 2013 and agreed that the two cafes "enhance" each other.
Co-owners Rachael Koning and Shelley Kirke (and partners) said they knew the concept would work but had no idea of the scale of what was ahead for the family business.
"It feels really good but it's been hard work. We're finally coming up for some air after three years of rapid growth," Rachael said.
"Our dream was to make it a destination cafe and pull people off the highway. Now we are getting those repeat customers every year," Shelley said.
The newer kids on this happening block include Flowers by Bonnie and retro store Orange Daze.
Bonnie McGowan opened her store in 2015 after setting up a pop-up shop in Heart & Soul to showcase her floral designs, the demand for her work increasing so much so she eventually moved into the neighbourhood as a standalone business.
"I'm glad to be connected to the cafes. We all totally complement each other. It highlights what can be achieved working together. There's a real life and energy to the place."
Newcomer to the precinct is Katrina Giles whose vintage store Orange Daze has become a "mini emporium" housing two smaller businesses inside - Moes Clothing (Skye Harrison's vintage clothing store) and Karen Bradshaw's Sarus Silks & Oriental Miscellany specialising in Japanese textiles and accessories.
Katrina took over Julie Whetton's traditional antique shop in July this year and said the momentum created by the cafes has grown and grown.
"It's been lovely so far, everyone's been really supportive. People say it's great to have a shop like this in town (50s, 60s 70s era) and we're really happy to be here with the cafes. It's like one big family."