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Lift Your Spirits With This Small Business Owner’s Story Of Survival

By Sophie Oddo
22nd Oct 2020

To say that this year has been tough on Australian small businesses would be an understatement. With devastating bushfires earlier this year and the COVID-19 pandemic still wreaking havoc around Australia and the world, it’s safe to say everyone is in need of a little extra love and support.

Helping to do just that is one of Australia’s original coffee roasters, Harris Coffee, with their Cafe Recovery Project. Harbouring a strong belief that great cafes are the heart of local communities, Harris Coffee wanted to support those doing it tough with a year's free coffee, a free on-loan coffee machine, training and marketing support and a year's free takeaway cups thanks to their mates at BioPak

One of the deserving recipients of this heart-warming initiative was The Trader Store in Uralla, New South Wales. Boasting a charmingly curated selection of unique garden wares, homewares, gifts, hardware, workshops, and of course, barista-made coffee, there’s no denying this humble store plays in a vital role in the Uralla community.

We sat down with owner Nathan, to chat about all things Uralla, the story behind their wholesome business, and how Harris Coffee has allowed them to continue to support the community they love so much. 

What Makes Uralla Special And Why Do You Love It Here?

It’s like a different lifestyle. You go out to the farm and you have beautiful hillsides and grasses, the trees, the fresh spirit — particularly after it rains. We have lots of animals and you can hear the hen’s in the henhouse; it’s our escape.

Sunrise is awesome at the farm because we have a northerly aspect. Every day it shows a different colour palette. It’s awesome to have all your troubles every day go down with the sun. Uralla’s little vibe is relaxed — it’s a local and easy going type of feeling. The vibe is sort of what keeps us here. People can express themselves. It’s embraced rather than frowned upon. There’s so much diversified talent.

What Was The Trader Store Concept And What Do You Love About It Most?

We started out as just the hardware store. As time went on we needed to change it up to survive through the current times we’ve been through, like COVID, fires and drought.

We always had lots of aspects in what we do, so we just put it under one roof. The Trader Store is about everything we love. We opened it so we could share what we love with likeminded people. When you genuinely love what you do it shines through with your customers and what you’re doing. We took over and added pieces of us in the homewares, the chalk paint, the workshops and the café. It continually evolves and people can come together and enjoy it all.

Who Are Your Regulars And Why Do They Come To The Trader Store?

We have such a diverse customer base. Coffee drinkers just enjoying the space and relaxing, people meeting friends, people coming in for workshops and the creative side. There is a diverse group of people that come in for hardware as well. We know the products so well and have a solution for everyone who walks through the door. With the Mexican food, it’s something so different and so unique for us.

People plan their trips around coming here. Lots of different groups come from all over everywhere. People always come back because they really enjoy it, it’s great.

It’s a place where people like to come together and meet. We offer a nice communal space with a good vibe. We accept people for who they are. It’s nice to feel you can go somewhere without worrying. It’s a good place that people can come and enjoy a non-judgmental safe space. We like to be that listening ear — it’s amazing what people tell you over the coffee machine.

What Challenges Have You Faced This Year And How Have You Overcome Them?

We were hit with the bushfires, then we had arsenic in the water, then we had COVID. With the help of the Harris Café Recovery Project, we could get back on our feet.

To have the support of such a wonderful brand is humbling because it means that it takes the pressure off. It means that it’s one aspect of our business we don’t have to consistently check on. I have no words for how it feels to have that kind of support backing us. For this brand to recognise our little store is amazing. We feel so, so lucky, we are blown away with how much support they’ve provided. Our coffee machine was great, but it’s got nothing on this one. We thought we had a great machine, but when you start using something like this it’s incredible. We’ll never go back to the old.

HOW HAS THE URALLA COMMUNITY SUPPORTED YOU?

Being in a small community everyone came together. Everyone was helpful, supportive, locals stood together. During COVID, in the initial first shut-down, they were very supportive. They weren’t travelling so they were supporting all locals where they could. That really kept us going. 

We’re the same, we like to support local because we like them to support us too. Initially, people were quite frightened about what it meant and we were quite a bit scared. Coming through it, everyone banded together and knew together that we could get through it, we built each other up.

It’s been a year full of wild twists and turns but nothing warms our hearts quite like seeing hardworking Australians receive the support they need and deserve, thanks to Harris Coffee and their Cafe Recovery Project. For more information on the initiative or to discover more about Harris Coffee, click here

Editor’s note: This article is sponsored by Harris Coffee and proudly endorsed by Urban List. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make Urban List possible. Click here for more information on our editorial policy.

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