Bar 9 Specialty Coffee and St Vincent de Paul Society have joined forces to establish a new social enterprise café – with a difference.
“I was looking for a way to expand upon Bar 9’s mission statement of ‘enabling life’s best work through to the community’ when an opportunity to work with St Vincent de Paul opened up,” Bar 9 Founder Ian Callahan says. “Bar 9 has supported the organisation through various events such as the Vinnies CEO Sleep Out, but this time we have a chance to make a permanent difference for some of the community’s less fortunate.”
Bar 9 Outreach officially opened to the public on 13 April. It is located in an old building at 34 Whitemore Square in Adelaide, formerly the home of the renowned Iliad Greek restaurant. For the past 12 years, however, St Vincent de Paul Society owned and maintained the space, using it as a dining room to prepare and serve meals to the homeless community. During the day, the building remained vacant.
It’s taken months of renovations to breathe life back into the old building and transform it into a specialty coffee retreat, but thanks to the generosity of supporters, the doors to Bar 9 Outreach are open.
To bring the café to life, Five Senses has helped fitout the coffee operations with the instalment of a Synesso Hydra espresso machine, and Mazzer Robur Kold, Nuova Simonelli Mythos One and Mahlkonig EK43 grinders. A new Marco Sp9 coffee brewer is serving filter coffee, with the addition of a 9 Strietman Espresso ES2 wall-mounted lever espresso machine.
Ian says establishing this social enterprise was about much more than just a café serving some of the best coffee in the area. “I really want to convince people that social enterprises can be great for business,” he says. “I want others to realise they can make a valuable impact on people who have simply made one wrong decision in their lives. Give people a chance.”
Bar 9 Outreach has taken a three-tiered approach to ensure it sustains longevity and value. The rent of the building has become a new revenue stream for St Vincent de Paul, which can distribute directly to projects of its choosing. The Bar 9 kitchen is helping prepare a lot of the food that goes towards feeding people from the St Vincent de Paul shelter each evening, located just a few doors away from the new Outreach venue.
Ian says most importantly, the new Outreach site will house a training program for a select group from the St Vincent de Paul shelter.
“The idea behind the training program is to up-skill and build confidence to participants through hospitality, coffee training, and baking skills. The end goal would be for those participants to find permanent or part time employment, and potentially to help them open their own business one day, even if it’s not hospitality related,” he says.
Most of all, Ian says he’s looking forward to seeing quantifiable changes in the lives of those who need it most: “Hopefully, we can enact some real, significant, and long-lasting social change.”