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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Ruminations of a (re-)tired management consultant (chartered no less ☺)


Riverbend keeps me more or less grounded - in more ways than one - but whenever I go to town, I can't help but look at the ever-changing business scene and ruminate.

Despite my regular purchases of licorice and aniseed rings, my favourite lolly shop closed its door many months ago. However, this may have had something to do with its byline "... we keep everyone happy, including your dentist!"

But what about internet cafés? Not so many years ago you could find one on almost every street corner. Today there are none.

Equally, every neighbourhood had at least one, and often several, video hire shops. Again, today there are none.

Bookshops? We used to have two in the Bay. Now we have just one and my guess is they're only holding out until the end of the lease.

Over the years, I must've walked past the Malibu Music shop a hundred times and never saw a customer inside. This week the owner finally announced his closing-down sale. Another casualty of the ever-changing business scene.

So what's replaced them? Coffee shops! I am surrounded by coffee-Nazis who lecture me for hours about the differences between this coffee shop and that coffee shop and their preference for a macchiato as opposed to a double-shot espresso with ristretto tendencies.

When I came here in 1965, Australia was a nation of tea drinkers - Bushells no less; one teaspoon per person and one for the pot - and the only coffee available was instant coffee. Now we have coffee shops not just on every street corner but even side by side, and a Gloria Jean's or Coffee Club franchise sets you back half a million dollars.

The three Greeks who started the Coffee Club in 1989 - see here - and Nabi Saleh who brought Gloria Jean's to Australia seven years later must be laughing into their coffee cups. But so must be the owners of the Tree House Cafe who probably spent no more than their first day's takings to furnish and equip their very unique business model.

As for me, when I have the odd coffee it's instant and the cheaper the brand the better it tastes. Oh, for a cup of International Roast heaped with a spoonful of sugar and a glug of full-cream milk.