"We're always at shopping centres whether that be for grocery shopping or entertainment. I asked why can't we have good coffee there?"

Dream brew at hipster coffee shop

COFFEE aficionado-turned entrepreneur Harrison Black said everyone thought he was crazy when he dreamt of creating a hipster cafe in a shopping centre.

The co-founder of coffee specialty company Foster & Black made his dreams a reality in 2015, opening his first store in Maroochydore's Sunshine Plaza.

At the time, an independent coffee shop in the middle of a shopping centre was unheard of. "No one else was doing it because everyone said it was impossible," Mr Black said.

Four years on, he and his business partner Andrew Foster, operate five stores in shopping centres across Brisbane and the Gold Coast including the Myer Centre, Westfield Carindale and Garden City.

The idea started from a conversation with friends about how difficult it was to find decent coffee in a shopping centre.

"We're always at shopping centres whether that be for grocery shopping or entertainment. I asked why can't we have good coffee there?"

Specialty coffee Foster & Black at Westfield Garden City.
Specialty coffee Foster & Black at Westfield Garden City.

"I wanted to recreate the experience that you would normally find in a tiny hole-in-the-wall cafe down a lane way in Melbourne where you receive genuine service and drink amazing coffee," he said.

While many assume shopping centres comes with tough land lords and exorbitant rent, the 26-year-old said the company has forged an "excellent" relationship with their land lords.

About 10-15 per cent of their revenue goes towards rent. The company doubled their turnover from their second to third year, and tripled in their third to fourth.

Harrison Black (pictured, front) and Andrew Foster (back) at Foster & Black. Picture: supplied
Harrison Black (pictured, front) and Andrew Foster (back) at Foster & Black. Picture: supplied

They now hope to open 10 stores in Queensland in the next year with the ambitious goal of opening shop and competing with coffee snobs in southern capitals.

"The goal is to keep opening in Queensland and also looking at Melbourne and Sydney in the next couple of years," Mr Black said.

Harrison Black is a Business Person of the Year finalist in the Lord Mayor's Business Awards.

The Courier-Mail is a sponsor of the awards with winners announced on October 18.



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