GOING STRONG: Barista Joshua Stott and Shelfield Coffee Brewers owner Peter Jeon.
GOING STRONG: Barista Joshua Stott and Shelfield Coffee Brewers owner Peter Jeon.

How an Emerald cafe has kept on brewing

THE trick to maintaining popularity and morale throughout the coronavirus pandemic is to roll with the punches and focus on quality, according to the barista of one of Emerald’s favourite cafes.

Joshua Stott has worked at Shelfield Coffee Brewers for two years. He said not much had changed recently, other than the layout of the store on Egerton Street, which for the moment only offers takeaway.

Nor has the need to order coffee from a small distance noticeably discouraged the regular traffic.

“Last Saturday we didn’t stop serving coffee for about six hours,” Mr Stott said.

“We’re one of the few stores that adapted quickly to being able to keep up the same speed and quality.

“Instead of focusing on how bad the situation is, it’s about how we can keep the same happy atmosphere in a bad situation.”

Mr Stott said that what keeps people coming back is a reputation for great service and products, as well as kindness. Last month, the store gave free coffee to health workers.

“The whole model for Shelfields is quality,” Mr Stott said.

“Not just quality coffee and products, but also quality service. So going out of our way to help customers as much as we can.

“And there’s the reputation and relationship that [owner] Peter’s built with his customer base: every second person that comes in, Peter has a conversation and knows their whole life story.”

Another strategy is to shake up the menu. At Christmas, Shelfield Coffee Brewers introduced a cranberry and turkey toasted sandwich, and for Easter this year, an indulgent ‘caramilk latte’.

Mr Stott said the staff’s spirits were kept high by friendship.

“The staff is always relaxed,” he said. “We’re all pretty good friends here.”

He did miss the social aspects of normal operations, however, and looked forward to having longer conversations with customers in the future.

“I think it’ll be nice to get back into the rhythm,” Mr Stott said. “It’ll be a nice breath of fresh air.

“It’s always a hard situation being locked up, but I feel us being open the entire time has really helped keep morale up.

“You can still get your good coffee from Shelfields, so at least you’ve got a good start to your day.”


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