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New Mackay barber shop and cafe brews up expansion plans

Business owners Jaden and Annerie Tomkinson at their new location.
Business owners Jaden and Annerie Tomkinson at their new location. Jacob Miley

WHEN a young Mackay man started his own business last year, it was a gamble - but now, it is starting to pay off.

This week, Jay's Barber Co - owned by Jaden Tomkinson - opened in its new location on Grendon St, North Mackay. This time, with the addition of a funky 'cafe bar' the first thing you see when walking through the door.

In 2016, he invested in a barber business as a 20-year-old, after turning down a position at a barber shop in Brisbane, preferring to invest in his hometown he loved so much.

For the past six weeks, he and his wife Annerie worked to turn what was a "blank canvas” into their new store which is both a barber shop and a cafe.

The business only moved about 350 metres from their old location - however, the building is significantly bigger and better.

"We have a proper shopfront now; we are in the public eye,” Mr Tomkinson said.

The new location is decked out with a cafe and a barber.
The new location is decked out with a cafe and a barber. Jacob Miley

Their new store has been decorated based on inspiration drawn from cafes all over the world - with the goal of trying to "deck out a cool cafe” with a barber shop inside it.

"We've definitely gone for a different approach,” he said.

"You would come in here, and think it's not a barber shop.

"I've had people come by and say, 'when's your cafe' open?' and I would say, 'well we're actually a barber shop as well'.”

And that is a mistake easily made. When you walk into the new business, the first thing you see is the leather chairs and the coffee bar - it's not until you look further you see the barber chairs.

Annerie Tomkinson behind the coffee machine.
Annerie Tomkinson behind the coffee machine. Jacob Miley

The combination of the two all stemmed from their passion for coffee.

In their previous location they had a single serving coffee machine, mainly just for staff to make a coffee of a morning.

But soon, loyal customers were also having coffees with their haircuts, after Mrs Tomkinson began greeting people with a friendly smile while making coffee.

The next step for the couple is to hire some extra staff, even if it is a couple of causal workers.

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They have now expanded to two barber chairs in anticipation of the growth.

But the couple have already started thinking beyond the North Mackay store.

"If the place does get bigger we would love to branch the cafe as its own name as well,” he said.

"It could be somewhere in the city small - you know, if the people are enjoying the coffee.”

The new shop front.
The new shop front. Jacob Miley

Mr Tomkinson said over the past year, business had continued to pick up.

"From day dot, I don't think we've ever gone backwards - we've just moved forward.”

Get a Nespresso Inissia coffee machine when you sign up for the 12-month Daily Mercury digital subscription, plus the weekend newspaper home delivered.

Go to www.dailymercury.com.au/coffee or phone 1300 361 604.

Topics:  barber shop better business cafes coffee hairdressers mackay business new business north mackay


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