The Enduring Power of Community01 April 2022
Since opening their coffee shop in 2007, local business owners Katie Daley and Mark Gloftis have weathered more than their fair share of challenges.
From natural disasters to global pandemics, they’ve navigated the ebbs and flows with grace. And they credit their local community with helping them get back on their feet and power through the toughest times.
Katie and Mark started Black Sheep Coffee at the Rocklea Market with a single coffee cart. Serving more than the humble cup of coffee, they soon fostered a loyal following that meant they could expand operations, opening a larger cafe in Woolloongabba.
Katie, who grew up in the Northern Rivers in NSW, says community has always been an integral part of her life.
“I’ve been able to see how the power of community can improve your quality of life. So, I really wanted to make an inclusive space where everyone felt welcome. A place where people could come in, share ideas, have a laugh or a cry, and get to know each other,” she says.
“We’ve been able to watch children who come into the cafe grow up, see people create relationships and even check in on regulars when we haven’t seen them in a while. It’s a nice thing and it’s something that is so important in everyone’s lives to have.”
COMMUNITY TO CARRY YOU THROUGH THE CHALLENGES
In 2011, their Rocklea Market hub was affected by the floods in Brisbane.
“The water came up very quickly,” Katie recalls. “We didn’t manage to get much out before the roads were closed. We lost a lot and I’ll never forget the feeling of sheer devastation seeing all the loss and destruction.”
Through one of the hardest points in their lives, they also found room to grow – thanks to their community who helped carry them through.
“It was a special moment in our business and a pivotal point for us. We were able to regroup, and with the support of the local community at that time, clean up the mess and rebuild. It was reaffirming for us how important it is to lean on each other in times of need.”
COVID has dealt them, and many other business owners, further challenges to overcome.
“It really has been a game of endurance,” Katie says.
“Pivoting on a weekly basis, adapting to what is our new norm.
“I’d be lying if I said that we didn’t have some sort of resilience fatigue, but again the support of our community has been a source of strength. Likewise, we became the place where people could come and for some, were their only point of contact every day. That was special.
“So, while a very hard thing to navigate, there’s been some silver linings.”
Following the most recent severe weather event in Brisbane, Katie and Mark are once again enduring forces of nature and tapping into the power of their community.
“Small businesses are an integral part of the community and it is so important to get out there and support any small business you can right now. I appreciate all the support we’ve been given by customers and fellow business owners.”
HONOURING THE ANZAC SPIRIT
Despite the challenges thrown their way, Katie and Mark have consistently led by example, living by the ANZAC spirit of endurance.
The ANZAC spirit and reverence for 25 April is something that has long been held in Katie’s family.
“My grandfather, Patrick Douglas Daley, served as a Rat of Tobruk. He was there for the entire siege,” she shares.
“He retrained in jungle warfare after he came back to Australia and went on to serve in Papua New Guinea.”
While Katie says he didn’t talk too much about the war, he would often share anecdotes about the humour shared amongst his mates.
“I think his stories and examples of mateship are something I carry with me in how I operate my own businesses. The mateship, humour and the importance of having each other’s back.
“My grandfather was an incredibly generous man and one thing he instilled in us is that you never look down on a man with a shovel. I think having that heart and compassion is an important thing for us all to carry with us every day.
“ANZAC Day is a really special day in our family. We come together to honour the troops and soldiers, the past serving, but it's also a really special day where we share stories about my grandfather.”
This year, Katie, Mark and her two children will light up the dawn at home.
“We’ll light a candle and have a minute's silence at 6 am,” she says.
“ANZAC Day is relevant and important to all Australians, particularly as we face these difficult times. It’s a moment to recognise the importance of community, coming together and having each other’s back.”
COMMEMORATE YOUR WAY ON ANZAC DAY
The ANZAC spirit lives on in us all, and on 25 April we invite you to honour our Defence community and commemorate in a way that is meaningful to you. On ANZAC Day, you can attend your local RSL ANZAC Day service, light up the dawn at home at 6am, participate online, or hear stories of inspirational Australians who embody the characteristics of the ANZAC spirit.