A dream come true to open a bookshop with an elegant bar brought many nightmarish elements for owner Fiona Schultz who has been a business owner for years but was making her first foray into hospitality. Family health issues, poor advice from service providers, a looming budget blow-out and a delayed liquor license all compounded her stress. Right when she began questioning the wisdom of creating Edition Bar, and feeling more than a little like a damsel in distress from the pages of one of the books on the shelves, Fiona discovered a knight in shining armour in the form of Daniel at Cafeideas.
Fiona had long envisioned the bookshop and bar to be a stylish, unique place for book lovers to visit and lose themselves in precious words while enjoying a convivial atmosphere and a cocktail or a glass of shiraz. Architects and interior designers, seemingly convinced that the budget was a bottomless well of money, continually recommended expensive, high end design elements and furnishings. “Can you believe that a single ten-thousand-dollar chair was put forward?” she laughs. “Yes, it’s a ‘statement piece’ as they told me, but I’m not about to go into massive debt just to furnish my bar!”
Fiona additionally faced complications involving Council regulations and lengthy approval processes. “Why is there so much red tape in opening a business,” Fiona had contemplated. “I had been bleeding money, I was exhausted and frankly, shattered from everything I’d taken on at the time, including some very challenging personal issues.”
When it came time to select equipment and furnishings, a good friend in the hospitality industry suggested she look up the Cafeideas website. “It was such a godsend when I found them,” Fiona explains. “They literally saved me.”
With the liquor license approval running close to the wire, Fiona was worried she wouldn’t be able to open in time. Still, she plodded on and researched numerous hospitality suppliers, finding the customer service to be “dismal”. “I was fragile,” she explained. “Everywhere I turned, there were roadblocks. Other hospitality suppliers either had no available stock or it was going to take 12 weeks to deliver. I had contacted companies several times and not even received replies. I was tearing my hair out just trying to do business with these firms, only to be treated with contempt, basically.”
From her initial experience with the Cafeideas website, Fiona felt that she’d found the answer to many of her supply problems. She dropped in to the showroom and was met by Daniel who instantly provided a sense of relief. “Daniel is a lifesaver, truly,” Fiona says. “I walked in and he gave me his full attention, took notes, provided recommendations and what impressed me the most was, he gave me promises. Now that everything is done and we’re open for business, I can tell you wholeheartedly that he lived up to every one of those promises, and then some.”
Looking to furnish the bar, Fiona found the range and availability of different price points unbeatable at Cafeideas. “I couldn’t afford bespoke fabrics and custom made chairs, no matter how much I might have wanted them. At Cafeideas, I could buy amazing products that look fabulous and which were not too expensive, and certainly not cheap and nasty. It was affordable for my budget and I know I can replace those items in a couple of years and achieve another fresh, new look. Everywhere else, I felt like I was getting ripped off. Cafeideas has been an entirely different experience.”
Fiona says Cafeideas vastly exceeded her expectations. “You just don’t see that customer service ever, from anyone anymore,” she says. “And Daniel really is incredible. One day, I had some chairs delivered and didn’t have a drill. Daniel sent one over immediately. Can you believe that? Later, he even delivered a bottle of wine from his family’s winery, to congratulate me on the bar’s opening. Who does that? Nobody does that anymore!”
Daniel’s vast network of connections in the hospitality industry further simplified procurement of other items for Fiona. “He gave me tons of advice about the hospitality industry. I was starting to get confused and he helped me understand. He put me in touch with other suppliers for various things and I came to see that the reason he’s built such a huge network is because he knows his stuff and he’s such a consummate professional.”
Aside from furnishings, Fiona also purchased and leased equipment such as fridges and dishwashers. “Daniel’s advice helped me save a great deal of money, money that was better utilised in other areas. I’m enormously grateful.”
“Without a doubt in the world, I’d recommend Cafeideas to others,” Fiona insists. “Considering the state I was in towards opening day, I couldn’t have done it this well without them.”
About Edition Bar
Already Managing Director of her own multi-national publishing company, New Holland Publishers, Fiona was keen to dip her toe in hospitality. The idea was to create a cosy, book lovers’ bar where passionate readers could settle in and enjoy an expertly curated selection of titles to purchase and enjoy. The result is Edition Bar which serves coffee and cake by day and wine, cocktails, dessert and cheeses by night.
“I love books and I love wine,” Fiona explains. “I wanted to put my authors’ books on display and provide somewhere where people could come and be surrounded by gorgeous reading material and be inspired.” Though New Holland Publishers specialises in non-fiction, Fiona has made sure there are also plenty of fiction titles on offer.
Since opening, Edition Bar has attracted a steady clientele in their mid-twenties and older. Professionals, retirees, corporate out-of-towners, tourists, locals, singles and couples drop by to while away an hour or more with a lush Prosecco or a beautiful cocktail. Display copies are available to read or customers can purchase their very own book from the hundreds and thousands on the shelves and sit in the comfortable lounges to read to their hearts’ content. The low volume music – think Frank Sinatra and ambient smoky jazz – permeates the atmosphere.
Fiona describes Edition Bar as having a very grown-up personality. “Oh, it’s very civilised, very warm and welcoming,” she explains. “You simply won’t find another bar like it and that’s what I wanted to create, a special place for a quiet tipple where you can get lost in the words on a page. You simply don’t get that kind of rich, sensory experience with e-books on a crowded train or a busy food court, do you?”