Difficult start fails to deter keen business owner from opening
OPENING his new cafe in Ballina as the coronavirus pandemic peaked has been a hard slog for Jaysen Thompson, but he’s excited for the future.
After the planned opening for Tastings Coffee and Catering at end of February was delayed, Mr Thompson said he bit the bullet and officially opened the week restrictions were placed on cafe trade.
“We did open for a couple of days in the takeaway format, but it was a little demoralising, so we closed the door for a few weeks,” Mr Thompson said.
“We were fully committed and I’d completed 90 per cent of the fit out so I didn’t want to walk away from that. I believe in the site and Tamar Street.
“We are excited to open fully and start building some more relationships in the community.”
He said the pandemic hitting the cafe’s target market – the professional suites on Tamar St – had affected business, but the team was looking forward to offices opening back up again.
Now in the fifth week of trade, Mr Thompson said business was starting to flow better.
“It’s been good, we’ve been receiving some excellent support,” the local of 20 years said.
“It feels great, we’ve opened completely adhering to the social distancing … it’s lovely to invite people in.”
The cafe is modelled on a grab and go experience but with a comfortable sit down area if people want to take their time.
It’s not the first business Mr Thompson has owned on the Northern Rivers.
“I owned Pelican 181 on the wharf and established the La Cucina di Vino underneath the Ramada resort,” he said.
“I love to play with food, I’m a no rules type of foodie.”
Using local produce from the Ballina Farmers market, Tastings offers Single O Coffee, sweet and savoury treats, cakes, frittatas, salads, wraps and a range of toasted and fresh sandwiches.
“The ruben sandwich seems to be the star on the menu,” he said.
“I’d like to eventually cater for the business in Tamar St.
“Tastings is about tasting different things … to show people what’s out there and encourage people to go to the markets and support local growers.”
Find Tastings Coffee & Catering at 3/81 Tamar St, Ballina.