A ‘beacon of positivity’ – that’s what you can expect from Valori Espresso and Gallery at Scarborough, even amid COVID-19 social restrictions and disruptions to regular trading.
Sharing a hot brew with friends, family and colleagues may all seem but a distant memory at the moment, but the team at Valori is working hard to dish up personalised service, and that much-needed caffeine fix.
Tim Bates, who owns the award-winning café along with business partner Marish Valori, explains that day-to-day operations have changed “in a strange way” since social distancing measures kicked in.
“Because of how simple our business model is (make warm drinks and talk smack) our product and service haven’t changed at all,” he says.
“But with restrictions on having people in the store, and takeaway-only, the café has taken on a very different feel.”
While streamlining payments and limiting face-to-face contact have made transactions “a little less personal”, Tim assures that customers – both old and new – will receive service with a smile.
He and fellow barista extraordinaire, Harry Krohn, have really ramped up their hours behind the counter, working seven days a week for the past seven weeks.
Tim says this allows for a “higher focus on learning names and regular orders, and making sure we’re always a little beacon of positivity in people’s days during such stressful times.”
While recent counter-measures (such as shifting to takeaway) have allowed the business to keep its doors open, Tim says the Valori team looks forward to resuming usual operations once restrictions are lifted.
“Without tables, and people creating our atmosphere, we aren’t the Valori that we want to be,” he says.
Tim goes on to say that Valori has the “best and strongest” regular customer cohort he’s ever seen – and, thankfully, they appear to be sticking around.
“Without their support, we wouldn’t have made it through.”
Valori’s fun and laidback approach to business (not to mention amazing coffee) saw it take out top prize at the inaugural Forkies Eat & Drink Awards in the Moreton Bay Region last year.
It also snapped up the Espresso Yourself – Go-to Caffeine Fix and Service With a Smile – Best Customer Service categories.
Eight months on, and the business is continuing to win over even more customers.
“The exposure we got, and waves we got to make with outlandish billboards and magazine photos, definitely showed us the power of proper, targeted marketing.”
Accolades aside, Tim says it all comes back to supporting small business.
“Small business is Australia’s largest employer of people, so I honestly don’t think this [COVID-19 crisis] should have changed our view on it,” he says, when questioned on whether it’s more important now to shop local.
“But maybe it’s a timely reminder. It’s certainly helped remind us how many of our friends and family rely on local business, and encouraged us to do all we can to help.”
Valori’s success in times of uncertainty just goes to show that it might start with a great cup of coffee, but the recipe to success also calls for a whole lot of spirit, hard work, and community backing.
Whether you’re a latte-sipping local, or if a long black is more your style, it doesn’t matter.
You can enjoy your morning brew by the bay, or even venture to a national park for a fresh air pick-me-up, with some movement restrictions being eased from May 2.
Check out all the things you (and members of your household) can and can’t do in the Moreton Bay Region here