One of the lovely things about small towns is the sense of community that rapidly develops, AND great service. Small towns KNOW that if they aren’t good at service people will go elsewhere. And so everywhere I have been in Burnie has offered me really good service, including telling me to go elsewhere, showing me which way to head, or even talking me part way, if I can’t find what I need in that shop.
Burnie was previously a mill town, and from all reports, pretty ragged and not so nice to live in. When the mill closed the city administrators got together and rebadged it as a great little tourist place, with nice eateries, lots of arts and crafts and it has become a lovely space to be. The regional art gallery is here, little art and craft shops are in alleyways, and there are dozens of cafes and restaurants. Not bad for a town of 19,000 people.
And there are … coffee shops .. oh boy! I haven’t tested them all yet, that could take a while, but I have found a couple of favourites. During the week, on my way to work, I head for Café Bliss. On the weekend, when I have time to relax and play around, it is the coffee shop at the Maker’s Workshop. However, Café Bliss lives up to its name. Once you begin to frequent places regularly, then you become welcomed as an old friend. I hit ‘my local’ on the way to work for a hot cuppa and this place makes me happy. So happy that I have already been given my second cup of free coffee!
Café Bliss is owned by a Ethan, young fella with great customer service skills. He has only owned the café for 15 months and has retained the services of Debbie, who had worked there for a number of years. Debbie loves her job and it is clear that she is a valued and really great employee. When I walk into the shop, the first comment is “Your usual, love?” Yes please. They fill my bling coffee mug (a pair with my grand-daughter’s, so we can share something even though I am 3 plane hours away), click my ‘VIP card, and ask me about my day. The regulars have ‘their’ seats, and their orders are also known by all the staff. Debbie was an employee at the shop when Ethan took over, and she asked him if he wanted younger waitresses. To his credit he recognized expertise and said “Hell no, I need you”. Smart man!! She helped train him, and all the other wait staff after. Café Bliss runs on great service and this has been fostered by Debbie and Ethan.
Around the walls are arts and crafts by local artists, and the shelves stock locally grown coffee beans. This is when a coffee shop becomes more than just a sales point, but part of a community itself. I’ll be there tomorrow, having my VIP card clicked, taking my good coffee to work, and wishing I had more time to sit down to have a nice breakfast. Small town living… very nice.