With the distinctive red floral emblem plastered across its chic black shipping container premises, Coast café chain Izba Espresso have managed to develop an iconic and enigmatic character that is so often over-engineered.
As the café culture on the Sunshine Coast has certainly reached maturity and a heightened level of sophistication and service is expected, Izba has not only managed to compete but rapidly expand into five locations.
Buying their first container on Gum Tree and eagerly fitting it out before they had a location might have seemed pre-emptive at the time, but the couple’s enthusiasm and zest for quality service were impossible to ignore back in 2013.
Making the ideal spot out of their initial Currimundi location along Nicklin Way and creating a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere, despite the sounds of traffic just metres away, Izba’s first café managed to quickly turn heads with their now iconic shipping container presence and Russian art inspired logo.
Pete says that their container image has become a big part of Izba and its recognisability.
“Containers just became our thing and Izba Espresso containing coffee cravings just grew from there,” Pete says.
“People seem to love the container, it is a point of difference for us, we like to think we do it really well and it has taken us a long way.”
“Our brand is so powerful now, people see it once and they know it straight away.”
Husband and wife team Peter and Kate Gregg didn’t set out to launch five cafés in as many years back in 2013, however a productive relationship with Coast developers Stockland and an innate knack for good business and hard-work set them on track to do just that.
With everything tracking smoothly Pete’s relationship with Stockland eventuated into an ongoing partnership which facilitated the opening of Izba Birtinya in 2015.
“All of these opportunities have come through our partnership with Stockland,” Pete says.
“In our original proposal that we put to them we agreed that they would provide the playground, the sales centre and the display village and we would bring the atmosphere with the café.”
“They appreciate what we do and they know that we work hard so they give us the time we deserve.”
Practically as soon as the tools were put away and the young couple began focusing on ‘simply’ running the new business they received a phone call with another incredible opportunity waiting on the other end.
It was Stocklands again and they wanted to launch yet another café in Bells Reach.
“I was taken aback, but I thought why not?” Peter laughs.
“Three months later, and just a week before we opened Bells Reach the development team at Newport Redcliffe had lunch at Birtinya and were like ‘this is what we want’ so a week before we even opened our third Izba we then said yes to opening our fourth.”
After a few whirlwind years of opening and operating new cafes in Birtinya, Bells Reach, Aura, Redcliffe and an Izba in Minyama that is licensed and owned separately, Pete has had time to assess his successful formula.
“It’s a winning combination between a lot of things, but you have to care, have attention to detail, have consistency put in a lot of hard work, have good timing and the weather definitely helps.” Pete says.
“I don’t think there has to be a point of difference to be successful as a café, our food is fresh, we are consistent, you are greeted with a smile and we say goodbye.”
And what about the competition you might be thinking?
“Well the Sunshine Coast café scene is saturated and it is hard, but thankfully a lot of people don’t know what they are doing so the good ones stand out,” he jokes.
With a brand new kitchen and bar recently open at the Bells Reach location they join the Redcliffe and Birtinya cafes with a complete breakfast and lunch menu offering including live music and burger nights every Saturday.
Over the December Christmas period you can also check out Izba Espresso four nights a week Thursday through to Sunday.
Check out their website for more information: izbaespresso.com