With milk crates, chalk graffitied walls, lattes in jars and bearded hipsters on mac books, you could easily think you’re in a Melbourne laneway. The snowboard benches and the signs for board waxing a subtle reminder that you’re in a ski town.
Coffee, Beats, Drinks, opened in Jindabyne in July 2012. After selling everything he owned, including his beloved motorbike, Kris opened the doors with $74.80 left in his account and a bowl of change as a till.
Originally from the Gold Coast, Kris lived in Melbourne for five years, and has been in hospitality for over ten. He was in Jindabyne and dreadfully hungover one day. With a lousy coffee in hand, Kris thought he could really go a decent coffee as he walked past an empty shop. A dare was made to open a cafe, and after a phone call he thought, this just might be doable.
With the seed planted, Kris went back to Melbourne a couple of weeks later to his job. Then the company ended up folding. Kris thought, that’s pretty handy, so he came back to Jindy for a couple of weeks and had a session in the middle of summer before making the decision.
“From the moment we made the phone call it was 16 weeks to our doors opening”, he tells me. Hitting the ground running was an understatement, they opened a couple of weeks into the winter season and got pumped. “The first couple of weeks we were open it was just the most crazy time I have ever experienced in hospitality, going through what we thought would be a weeks worth of coffee in four days. We had no idea what we were stepping into, we thought we had some idea and we were way off. We were so busy from the get go and it was awesome. The vibe in here was really cool and it was really fun. It’s nice to be busy making money and having fun, you’re onto a good thing if you can tick all those boxes.
We’re all about creating an atmosphere where you can sit and relax. When we first came to Jindy, there was nowhere to go and just hang out if you didn’t want to be at the pub drinking schooners all afternoon or gambling at the TAB. There wasn’t a loungy area where you could catch up with friends and relax, unwind and feel at home. We want the locals to treat this as their home and feel comfortable here. I think so far we tick those boxes. We’ve got fantastic local support, which has been a huge, huge part of our success. Summers are getting busier and winters getting busier and busier as we go, a bit of snow also helps but. Even last year when we had a bit of an off season, it was still perfect coffee weather. Coffee and wifi and the place was packed all the time, it was really cool. This industry isn’t hugely weather dependent which is nice, it makes it a little bit stable for me, obviously when it does snow there’s a lot more people in town, but even if there’s not snow, we get a lot of repeat business which is awesome. In summer its a good catch up cause all the locals come through and you sit and have a gas bag with everyone,” says Kris.
The place has evolved and changed week to week, month to month, year to year. There’s always something they’re adding and buying. On their third coffee machine, they’ve had to upgrade twice, and using award winning coffee from Vella Nero in Sydney. “When you’ve got good products and good machinery it certainly makes it a lot easier,” Kris tells me.
Dial a wax, started up this year with local Daryl Walsh doing ski and snowboard waxing on the weekends at CBD. You can get a coffee and hot waxes for 20 bucks. Daryl also does call outs so he’ll go pick boards, wax them and drop them back after hours in the cafe for you to pick up with your morning coffee. “This is his first season doing it and he’s had a lot of success, we’ve opened up our arms and said he’s welcome back next year. He’s got his own little corner set up, its really cool and certainly a talking point for the shop. It’s something else that we can do. We’re a big advocate of sitting and taking time out and enjoying coffee. We really like people to sit and take 5 or 10 minutes out of their day and just have that bit of ‘me’ time. If they can sit and drop their boards or skis off and get them waxed at the same time its a nice little value add on for them,” says Kris.This year CBD are focusing on hitting their stride with their coffee, they are licensed but are just sticking to coffee this year. With a full kitchen out the back they do functions and events with drinks, canapés and food, working with groups to make the place their own, especially on event nights.
Jindy is now home for Kris and partner Kelly. “We love it, in summer it’s just such a beautiful place, it’s our favourite time of year to be here. We have two huskies who love it here also, and if they’re happy, we’re happy” he tells me. Coming full circle, he also excitedly tells me about a motorbike he’s put an offer on, just as he has also put a for sale sign on his business. Lots of boxes ticked there Kris.