Khayelitsha’s first coffee shop soldiers on

Mary-Anne Gontsana
The three Department of Coffee entrepreneurs. Photo by Mary-Anne Gontsana.
Mary-Anne Gontsana

It has been three months since three young guys from Khayelitsha opened the first coffee shop in the township. Since then it has only got better.

In July, GroundUp told the story of Wongama Baleni (23), Vuyile Msaku (25), and Vusumzi Mamile (24), of the Department of Coffee. They told us the journey they took to start their intimate coffee shop, situated opposite the train station in Ntlazane Street, at the Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading (VPUU) building.

Since then, they have added two tables outside for customers and a fridge which houses soft drinks. They have also added a variety of fresh juices to welcome summer.

“We will also be introducing sandwiches, but since we do not have the equipment and space to prepare our sandwiches yet, we are thinking of taking orders then preparing them at home and delivering them. Like your bacon and egg and chicken mayo sandwiches. We also want to change the coffee a bit since it will be summer now,” said Msaku.

They said business was good and they were making about 40 deliveries a day. “We can see the difference in terms of profits, but it is still difficult, because we still have to provide for our families and sometimes they do not understand when tell them that we do not have money,” said Baleni.

He said some of the other difficulties they faced were that people used the outside benches without buying anything from the coffee shop. They also put up notice boards outside to advertise their products, but these were stolen.

The Department of Coffee will have its official launch next month. “It will be on 17 November right here outside the coffee shop. We want to invite small businesses to come and showcase and sell their things here, as well as other prominent business people and the local community. There will be food on sale and, of course, coffee. We will be handing out pamphlets soon to let people know about it,” said Baleni.

The three entrepreneurs will also sport new uniforms in summer. Out with the black pants and black shirt, in with shorts and bright orange t-shirts. They will have their own smoothie recipes, serve ice lattes and a “spar spare shot”, which is Department of Coffee’s name for a cold cappuccino.

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TOPICS:  Economy Society

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