Gabor Szombati and Janine Bell at Birdies Espresso
Gabor Szombati and Janine Bell at Birdies Espresso

Coffee lovers support our health care workers

THE past few weeks have been nothing short of a nightmare for small business owners as they attempt to cope with, and adapt to, constantly emerging COVID-19 restrictions.

However according to owners of Birdies Espresso on Rockhampton’s Denham Street, Janine Bell and Gabor Szombati, this transition has been made far easier by the unwavering support of the public.

The couple have owned Birdies for three years now, running it with the help of their daughters, one of whom is now working on the front line at Rockhampton Hospital. Over the past few years the family-run business has developed a loyal customer base. According to Janine, for many of them, the morning coffee run has become a welcome intermission, their one outing for the day.

“So many people are grateful they can come in and get a coffee,” Ms Bell said.

“As time has gone on, they look at it as a little bit of a divergence from the everyday, an opportunity to get out and have a little discussion about what is going on and how they’re dealing with it. It provides people with an outlet.”

Eager to give back in any way they can, Ms Bell reports many customers have begun to pay coffees forward for health care workers.

“A customer just decided she wanted to do it, she said ‘I’d really like to pay forward a couple of coffees’ and I thought well that’s actually not a bad idea, so I put it on our little blackboard and mentioned that we’d pass them on to health care professionals,” she said.

“It’s a really nice gesture, especially at this time with everyone thinking about the healthcare industry what they’re sort of organising for everyone.”

As health care professionals come through, Ms Bell and Mr Szombati delegate the free coffees out, thanking them on behalf of the local community.



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