So there I was driving up the main street in my suburb when I spied an empty shop with a sign on it. “Coffee Shop opening soon.”
“Good,” I thought. “If there’s one thing Sydney needs it’s more coffee shops.” I made a mental note to try a cappuccino from the new place as soon as it opened and compare it to the brew selling in the other eight coffee shops in the block.
We must count our blessings. The eastern suburbs were not always so well served. In the commercial slum that was Coogee in the 90s, some shops didn’t sell any hot beverages at all. For example, it’s hard to believe now but there was even a bookshop. That is long gone now. After all, it’s not really the kind of shop we want around here, is it?
There aren’t many bookshops left in Sydney now. As this dying breed of store limped towards extinction, some tried to survive by converting themselves into semi-cafes and selling coffee. Borders, for example. Although Borders has closed down by now, at least they tried – give them points for that. The business mistake Borders made was selling books as well as coffee. If it had been coffee all the way, they would still be in business.
There were some other non-beverage selling shops in Coogee back in the olden days. ‘Guitar Crazy’ for example, a store containing hundreds of guitars of various types. The longhairs who ran the joint were finally driven out when the building owners increased the rent by 200%. Good riddance I say. Those hippies did not have what it takes to survive in the Darwinian business world of 21st century Sydney. If they’d made a genuine effort to sell coffee somewhere in their shop, they could easily have covered the 200% rent increase. As they insisted on selling musical instruments they were never going to last. The premises were soon up for rent, which at least opened up the chance for some entrepreneur to open a new cafe or restaurant and sell hot snacks and beverages.
That’s all we really need in Coogee or any other part of Sydney – cafes and restaurants. Everything else is surplus to the requirements of modern life and the sooner people realize it the better. It is about time Randwick Council stepped in with some legislative reform. It should pass a bill that all businesses are required to attain a coffee license before they can begin trading. It should be mandatory for all businesses of any description to include a coffee shop in their premises and employ a barista with a PhD in baristing. It should be mandatory for all customers who visit a given business to purchase a coffee or two during their visit.
I’ve half a mind to jump in the car and drive past that soon-to-be-opened coffee shop again. Where would we be without shops like that? As long as we have more and more cafes and restaurants, I see a bright future for us all. The only threat is that someone will work out how to sell coffee cheaper online, or even download free pirated coffees. But I don’t see that happening anytime soon, so the future of Sydney is assured.