BELMONT Forum’s redevelopment has been great for shoppers and particularly those with a taste for caffeine, with two new coffee shops open and the return of The Coffee Club.
The Coffee Club franchisees Preeti Soni and Bindya Patel hope their return to Belmont leads to a return to the success of days gone by, having spent 17 months in business wilderness.
When their store closed during the redevelopment last May, just days after winning a WA Franchisee of the Year award, they had expected a nine-month closedown. Both Ms Soni and Ms Patel took the opportunity to return to their native South Africa to see family and friends – something that wasn’t an option while the business was operating.
However nine months became 17 months before they were able to return to action. With an expired lease, which caused their franchise agreement to also end, Ms Soni and Ms Patel endured a long process just to get their business open again.
“We didn’t even get to display the award, it has been in the cupboard for a whole 18 months,” Ms Soni said.
“There are lots of challenges when running a business but when you are migrants from overseas, then you win the prize, then have to close and then come back to a centre where they have added two more coffee shops, it’s a bigger challenge this time.”
They were understandably rapt when Belmont MLA Cassie Rowe helped to open their new Belmont Forum store, which is just outside the new Coles, on Thursday morning.
Ms Soni paid tribute to regular customers who were excited to see the coffee shop back at Belmont Forum and was also grateful to her team of 14, some of whom worked in the old store and have returned.
“For 17 months our regulars have been asking ‘when are you coming back?’,” Ms Soni said.
“On Thursday all day it was a continuous flow of people and that was what we wanted.
“I made a promise that I would come back and we are staying now.”