Coffee currently has more than 400 coffee houses around Australia, but the vibe at Gloria Jean’s in the Casuarina Square Food Court is more personalised than you’d expect from a national franchise. Trish and her team work tirelessly to build relationships with customers, ensuring that each and every patron feels great when they pick up their daily caffine hit. We spoke to Trish about how she came to be a store owner at Casuarina Square, and what makes her so fond of Darwin.
How did you come to be a Gloria Jeans store owner?
Well, I actually I started here eleven years ago. I was managing Gloria Jean’s here and at the Mitchell Centre for about two years. Then Gloria Jean’s approached me to work for them in WA. I used to oversee all of WA and the northern territory which was about 34 stores! I did that for a while, but then I wanted to come back to Darwin because I missed it.
That leads into our next question, were you born in the Northern Territory?
No, I was born in Auckland, New Zealand.
So what brought you to Darwin?
I worked in an airport based in Brisbane, so I moved from Auckland to Brisbane and was there for five years. I used to run all the food and beverages side of things there, and then we got the contract for Darwin and Alice Springs. So that’s why I came up here initially – for a two-year contract.
And you never left?
Yes, pretty much.
So what is it that you love about managing your Casuarina store?
I’m very passionate about coffee and I love people, so I love that I get to mingle all day. Especially going from working in the airport – and having people who are very angry and stressed-out – to coming to work here and people actually choosing us as a destination! It’s lovely, our customers are fantastic. We’ve made a lot of friends from the customers and we’ve all become like an extended family. It’s the same with my team, we’re very close knit. And when you’re not there, you do miss it.
So it’s not like a “job thing” in that regard?
No it’s not, it’s really enjoyable especially after all this time. I can still say with confidence that I love what I do.
Is there one ‘stand-out’ thing you could say is the best thing about what you do?
Definitely the people. I love business and I’m very passionate about coffee, but the human side of it is what makes it a done deal for me.
So what do you love about Darwin?
The laid-back lifestyle. I think it’s like a world of its own, it’s a little bit different from the rest of Australia.
What is unique about your store?
For Gloria Jeans, it’s definitely the personalised service. Knowing people’s names, knowing their drink and having them share their personal stories is amazing. It’s important that our customers have an experience, and get to interact on a personal level. There’s often that feeling that you’re changing their lives in some small way, and that’s the cool thing about what we do. Regardless of health problems or other struggles they might be facing, Gloria Jeans is a place for them to go and feel a part of the community again.
So it can be a break-away from the everyday for them?
Yeah, and it’s not just me that does that, even my whole team does it. It’s very nice. We have an awesome team.
What is the one thing most people don’t know about your business?
Our cold drink ‘chiller’ range features a whole range of cold drinks. People seem to think that coffee represents the entirety of Gloria Jean’s – but we do so much more! We have a whole range of cold drinks that nobody else makes. Just come in and tell us what sort of thing you like, and we’ll help you find your new favourite drink to enjoy with the free Wi-Fi.