TOP TASTE: Enjoying a cup of their own brew at Coffee Nirvana in Ballina are co-owners Mark Bullivant, left, and Dale Potts. Pi
TOP TASTE: Enjoying a cup of their own brew at Coffee Nirvana in Ballina are co-owners Mark Bullivant, left, and Dale Potts. Pi

Sweet smell of success for Ballina coffee sales

By DAWN COHEN

EXCITEMENT, not caffeine, kept Dale Potts and Mark Bullivant packing 300 kilograms of coffee through the night two weeks ago.

The Coffee Nirvana owners in Ballina were busily preparing a pallet bound for Holland, their first international export secured after less than a year operating their business.

"It's unheard of to sell coffee to Holland," Mr Potts said.

"They like our local beans because we don't have to use pesticides here."

With a community profile, interstate distributors and entrepreneurial spirit, the Ballina company is marked for success, according to strategies established by the area's first survey of local businesses.

The 2005 NSW North Coast and Northern Rivers Business Survey, released on Wednesday, examined criteria for success and strategies local companies should be using to increase sales.

The study, conducted by local accounting firm WHK Rutherfords, surveyed 440 businesses from Coffs Harbour to Tweed Heads in May this year.

While about four-in-five enterprises have maintained or increased sales in the previous 12 months, nearly one-infive reported decreased sales by 10 per cent or more.

Rutherfords business consultant Graham Correy said successful businesses marketed locally, as well as targeting new customers outside the region.

"They are not only concerned with sales, costs and cash flow," Mr Correy said.

"Successful businesses care about their local reputation. They contribute to the community.

"They also try to get and keep the best staff."

Mr Potts said networking with the Byron Bay Chamber of Commerce and the Ballina Chamber of Commerce had helped establish Coffee Nirvana.

"When I worked in restaurants, I found the chef was a partner in the most successful ones," he said.

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