Business of the Month – Sparrow Coffee

Congratulations to Sparrow Coffee!

Congrats to our April 2021 Business of the Month. We caught up with the Directors of Sparrow Coffee and they had this to say about their business..

James: “What is the core of your business?”

Short answer: Takeaway coffee

Long answer: Sparrow Coffee was established in the Northern Rivers hinterland town of Bangalow, in 2014. Its’ roots however, actually originated from 3 local individuals, and successful business owners who saw a gap in the market.  

Brooke Hudson, Kassia Grier and Tristan Grier founded Sparrow Coffee, in 2013. This trio of entrepreneurial individuals came together as a team in 2007, to re-define the dining experience in the Byron Bay area, with their award winning Harvest Newrybar. Brooke, Kassia and Tristan, being passionate hospitality veterans and busy professionals, grew frustrated with lengthy waits for below par quality coffee & service, wherever they travelled. It didn’t take long for the trio to turn this frustration into an opportunity … Sparrow Coffee.

They understood that coffee is important to people, and that it brings people together. “Let’s meet for a coffee” is the all too common statement made by business associates, family members, friends and many other social groups within local communities. They also understood first hand, that people are often time poor.

The vision was to add value to peoples’ lives, by supplying them their daily dose of world-class coffee, based on the following four simple principles:

Quality, Consistency, Speed, Friendliness. They wanted to ensure that this modern social meeting place, is always a predictably positive experience.



James: “How long has your business been operating and how many staff do you employ?”

We have 4 stores operating at:

Bangalow (April 2014)

Byron Bay (January 2015)

Port Douglas (May 2015)

Burleigh Heads (December 2020)

We employ 20 amazing individuals. This number fluctuates slightly throughout the year based on seasonality. Although we monitor each stores’ performance closely, we empower the staff to take ownership of the stores, we listen to their ideas and feedback, and in return they care for each store like it is their own. We encourage staff to move between stores if that suits their lifestyle. We also offer intrepeneur opportunities for selected staff to become area managers, and then shareholders in the stores that they manage.

James: “Do you have any exciting news you can share with us?”

We are currently scouting for new sites to expand the business. We are only limited by the ability to find appropriate sites to meet the business model requirements. We have already proven, with the Port Douglas store, that geographical distance is easily manageable with our business model.

James: “What has been your biggest challenge in managing your business during COVID?”

The most difficult part of managing through COVID has been staying abreast of the changing health guidelines and the snap border closures. Our Port Douglas store has been significantly impacted by the international border closure, however, more significantly by the State border closures. Staffing and stock levels in Port Douglas are going to be extremely difficult to predict in 2021. Will the borders stay open? Will the southern states residents, who normally flock to Port Douglas from May through to September, have the confidence to book their regular trip north?

James: “What has been your biggest WIN for the business though COVID?”

Our biggest win through COVID has been the confirmation that our business model has stood up to the test of what has been the largest global, social and financial disruption that we have seen in our lifetime. Sure, tweaks were needed here and there throughout, however, no significant changes were required.

Also, engaging James and his team at CHG immediately to manage the government stimulus packages on our behalf, meant that we could concentrate solely on the operational side of the business. It was amazing how quickly James and his team were ready with all of the information, in what was quite a confusing and fluid period of government decision making. This just solidified our belief that specialised areas outside of our expertise, are best outsourced to trusted business partners like CHG.



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