As I chat with Sher Ward in the new back courtyard of cafe Satis, the space is being decorated by a night-time city skyline and the beginnings of a soil-less garden. Sher says that she wants to keep her cafe small scale but is having to expand to cater for customer numbers.
“Originally I thought it might be just myself most of the day,” she says. “I was pretty overwhelmed when things did keep picking up.” These are impressive results for a business passionately committed to vegetarian and organic cuisine, which competes with three other eateries and relies exclusively on word of mouth for its marketing.
Sher has been in the hospitality business since she was 12 years old and honed her skills at popular Tilley’s of Lyneham for over eight years.
“I always wanted to open my own business – I just kept putting it off,” she says.
Originally Sher was going to do it in her homeland; as a Canadian Metis (a nation of mixed native and European ancestry) she was even eligible for a government grant.
In the end her choice of location was disarmingly logical: “My daughter goes to Majura Primary, I live up the road and I dont know how to drive.”
Sher is justifiably proud of her achievements. “We’ve created a real community space here. I now have people who come in every day. We get heaps of mothers’ groups – dads too.”
Satis will soon offer dinner three nights per week and live music on a more regular basis – all this to be ready by the time the warmer weather comes in September.
Reprinted from the Watzon Winter 2009 Newsletter