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Brewing up a stronger sense of community

Despite the significant impact COVID-19 has had on his business, the owner of Ipswich coffee roastery, The Dancing Bean, is still feeling hopeful.

“The pandemic has been catastrophic for the industry, but I really think we’re going to come out of this better,” Rob Mergard said.

“I think it’s encouraged people to look at supporting local business more and growing that sense of community.”

With decades of experience in the coffee business, Mr Mergard opened The Dancing Bean in Ipswich five years ago and supplies beans to Dovetails, 4Hearts Brewery and other pubs, bakeries and swimming pools across the region.

“Our local businesses love working with us, because if they run out of coffee, they can just walk up the road and get more,” Mr Mergard said.

“It’s not about just selling coffee beans, it’s also about sharing your knowledge with the business to help them make great coffee and grow that relationship with them.”

The Dancing Bean café has continued to stay open to serve takeaway during COVID-19, but the wholesale side of the business has been hit hard by venue closures.

Restaurants and cafes will be allowed to reopen for dining from Saturday 16 May for a maximum of 10 people, as part of the first stage of easing coronavirus restrictions in Queensland.

Mr Mergard hopes people will continue to choose to support local and encourage more Ipswich cafes to make the switch to local beans.

“People have been really receptive, but it can be scary for businesses to make the change, even when it makes so much more sense to choose local,” Mr Mergard said.

“I think the restrictions have encouraged people generally to be more self-sufficient and buy local, rather than buying products dirt cheap from China.

“They might be watching their purse strings for a bit, but they’ll still want to get out to enjoy cafes and restaurants when they can, so I think it’ll take some time, but it’s going to be ok.”

The Dancing Bean is at 164 Brisbane St, down the laneway behind Heisenberg Haus or you can buy beans online

Read more:

>>> Shop local to save small businesses

>>> Ipswich pub paying it forward


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