When most businesses are struggling, they say very little: one minute they’re open, the next day the lights are off and the doors are closed.
Queanbeyan cafe Bean Central has made the “heart-wrenching decision” to not only be very public about the fact it’s struggling, but also to ask the people of Q-Town for help.
A gofundme page launched on Wednesday asking for the community to contribute $25,000 to help the business – to cover the cost of three months’ rent so owners Matt Morrissey and Katie Hancock can continue to employ the cafe’s 15 staff and work further on a strategy to get the cafe into the black.
“We love Queanbeyan deeply and the heart of the cafe has always been community,” Katie says.
“We wanted the people of the city to have a place to enjoy great food and conversation, but it was always our intention to offer employment to people of limited ability who would otherwise be without a job.
“We’ve definitely succeeded in that – the majority of our staff have either an intellectual or physical disability or mental health challenge – and we honestly can’t face the thought of closing and leaving them unemployed.
“We’ve given this cafe everything and we want to stay open.”
Bean Central opened in 2020, at almost the exact same time as a global pandemic called coronavirus was causing huge concern in Europe and the United States. The cafe traded through waves of the pandemic and is still open, but struggling to pay back huge losses incurred through two lockdowns.
To date, the business has been propped up by Katie’s consulting practice and by Ruby’s, the couple’s profitable cafe in Evatt.
“Asking for help has not come easily,” Katie says.
“But we are honestly at the point of ‘ask for help or close’.”
The cafe’s gofundme page has so far raised $6,040 through 77 separate donations. There’s still a fair way to go to meet the $25,000 mark but the couple is optimistic.
“Every donation helps and will help us continue to trade while we work on a solution,” Katie says.
“We’ve been overwhelmed by the response so far and can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
To help Bean Central stay open head to: https://www.gofundme.com/f/bean-central-needs-your-help