A story from Byron Bay in NSW, reflecting life in October 2020.
Byron Bay hinterlands company Zentveld’s Coffee lost much of its business when fire hit the area in the Black Summer of 2019-20, followed by COVID-19.
Rebecca and John Zentveld’s roastery was open throughout summer, but Ms Zentveld said they lost 60 to 80 per cent of their trade when cafes and restaurants closed.
“We were very fortunate not to have lost ours or our suppliers’ crops in the bushfires. One of our suppliers is also a volunteer firefighter, he was out fighting the fires when the fire got within two kilometres of his crops, luckily they were spared,” says Ms Zentveld.
The Zentveld’s have been worked very long hours to keep their business afloat, but they haven’t lost sense of community. They took to fundraising at their roastery door serving cups of coffee and taking donations over a six week period for Tenterfield CWA. They donated the e proceeds to the CWA for volunteers, bushfire fighters and affected community members in need.
Mr Zentveld attributes a lot of their business resilience during this traumatic time to Business Australia, who provided useful webinars on business resilience and responsibilities.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has purchased their chocolate-coated coffee beans for use at international events. This has given the business a welcome boost.
“The purchase from The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade was very welcomed. It provides a sale which has a knock-on effect to our suppliers, who had also experienced a drop of business post drought and COVID-19,” said Mr Zentveld.
“We feel incredibly proud and fortunate to be chosen as a supplier of Australian goods, to be provided this opportunity to international exposure is very exciting.
“We are cautiously optimistic about the future. It’s a bit like a traffic jam, where you start getting somewhere and then you stop again,” said Mr Zentveld. “We really look forward to being on the highway again.”