– by Tiarne Cook
Imagine a world where everyone is equal and treated fairly– it may require a little imagination but perhaps you can see it. A world where everyone has an equal share and plays an equal part. Everyone’s ideas are heard, met with keen ears. Everyone’s vote counts. And everyone is working toward one single higher goal. It sounds a little like world peace doesn’t it? And maybe it is, but on a smaller scale.
Welcome to The Co-Op Coffee Shop – a workers co-operative serving up ethically sourced coffee with a side of community spirit and a dash of moral conscience, as well as wholesome, home-cooked delicacies to feed your belly and your soul.
Intrigued? Come inside, it’s warm…
Unlike your usual 7/11 or Saturday morning post-workout coffee haunt, The Co-Op Coffee Shop on Currie Street is not-for-profit. It is run entirely by the people who work there and fosters a sense of community amongst its customers and suppliers. How and why I hear you ask? It’s a co-op!
Member of the Co-Op Coffee Shop team, Ian Law explains that a workers co-operative group, such as theirs, has members who are also employees and they are the ones who make decisions as to the direction of the group.
“So it means under this model we’re non-hierarchical, which means we don’t have bosses. We jointly decide through consensus how we are going to run things.”
This particular co-op has a special interest in sourcing their products ethically and locally when they can – not necessarily a given in all co-ops. For instance, their coffee supplier, Patio, has been chosen on the grounds of their likeminded business model. They work closely with the bean suppliers, building important relationships, as well as delivering on taste and price. Locally, ethically sourced tea is also on the menu as are other homemade vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options.
For instance, Michael, hidden away behind the coffee machine, made the soup of the day and last week the soup was made by a family member. Similarly, the jar of morish-looking bikkies on the counter were a labour of love from the kitchen of one of the other members. This means costs are kept to a minimum and any profit is put back into the store or used to support community projects. Kind of revolutionary hey?
Ian goes on to explain the theory of third space.
“For most of us in our lives we have two spaces, we have home and work, and we don’t have somewhere else where we can go and feel comfortable and mix. And this is what we are trying to create here,” he says.
A meeting place where people can converse and develop ideas. This third space is materialised in the form of a small library where people can borrow or exchange books or donate them back to the community.
So when you are feeling a little caught up in the daily grind, when this cruel, fast-paced world has got you down– often appearing so terribly far from the brink of world peace – take a seat, take a load off and grab a cup with a conscience.
ADDRESS: The Co-Op Coffee Shop, 129 Currie St, Adelaide
HOURS: Monday-Friday, 8:30am-4pm