Good Bean Milton reopens after Brisbane flood devastation

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Good Bean Milton is once again serving coffee in the heart of Brisbane, two weeks after floodwaters devastated the area.

Owner Kyle Francis re-opened the café on 14 March to sell coffee and toasties, although he plans to expand his offering in coming weeks as workers return to nearby offices.

“To the eye, it’s actually not too bad. We have power back, we got a new water pump installed and now we have a safety certificate, we can sell coffee again.

“We were pretty busy [on Monday], so I’m quite stoked! Definitely people around here need their caffeine,” he says.

Kyle and his partner had no idea the nearby Brisbane River was rising until late on 26 February, well after they had closed.

“It was a normal Saturday. It was fairly quiet, so we closed and went home. Then we got a text from a regular who works out at the gym next to the café saying the water’s coming up Castlemaine Street where we were,” he says.

“We drove straight over, and the water was just a few buildings down and creeping up and up and up. We put what we could in our little car, like the coffee grinders and the EFTPOS and other small electronics and started lifting everything else on stools.”

The floodwater kept rising, and the café lost power at 9.30am the next day, Sunday 28 March. Kyle returned at 6am on Monday 29 March to assess the damage.

“By Monday morning the water was going down a little, but I couldn’t get inside. The front doors were waterlogged and so swollen they bowed out, and we couldn’t open them,” he says.

Kyle also found his regular milk delivery had also arrived, with three crates stacked neatly outside the café next to the high-water mark. A local volunteer kindly delivered the milk to a nearby Meals on Wheels service where it was put to good use for the day.

Kyle says this community connection and support has been the highlight of a difficult period.

“Meals on Wheels brought us sandwiches and bottles of water, which was huge. People from the gym next door, who still couldn’t get inside, came over and helped us clean. The community spirit is incredible,” says Kyle.

Good Bean Milton after cleaning, repainting and water pump replacement.

Rhys Miller, the General Manager of Good Bean, says maintaining supply to and from Good Bean’s Warana roastery to affiliated cafés across the country has been incredibly challenging.

“The brick-and-mortar businesses have been really, really affected, and we’ve had so many cancelled orders because people can’t trade because their cafés under water.

“I rocked up to one of my customers in Jindalee once the flood waters had subsided, and they were standing in an empty space where a café used to be because everything had been washed away. It’s just absolutely heartbreaking.”

Rhys says that despite some difficulties, Good Bean is lucky to be operating.

“The whole east coast of Australia is having a pretty tough time right now.

“We just need people to go to the cafés that are open. Go to every local business that can open, or order online, but get stuck in and support them because everyone’s really hurting.”

For more information on Good Bean, go to www.goodbean.com.au.

To provide direct support to flood-affected regions, visit Givit.org.au.

Source: Bean Scene Mag

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