This food hub is a local favourite. Its hipster vibe is attributed to its original identity as a community space that serves quality food and coffee. Original art, created within the art studio adorns the walls with many pieces coming to life on site. This café has so much heart and soul and so much to offer that I want Derek (Mr Now and Not Yet) to be the one to tell you all about the inspiration and direction of this gem.
As a father of 4 kids I have a growing concern that the pursuit of “more” and the individualist consumerist society that we exist in is delivering very little real satisfaction and genuine happiness to people. It is fascinating to me that most people find it far more fulfilling to give than receive, yet we rarely see businesses doing the same. As we looked at this we thought about the possibility of setting up a not-for-profit (or as we prefer to call it…a for-benefit) social enterprise café. We not only wanted to use all the profits for the business to put back into the community, but also use the business to assist with employment and training opportunities for people with significant challenges. So, with all of that in mind we started Now and Not Yet.
Warrandyte is not only a beautiful place to live but it is also a beautiful community. If you are in trouble or in need the people of Warrandyte will get around you, support and help you. I felt a community focused ‘social enterprise’ would fit in well with the vibe and ethos that already existed in Warrandyte. Living only 5 minutes from the café I have spent a lot time wandering along the beautiful Yarra river. As a massive coffee snob I felt that a funky, urban, coffee focused community café would thrive in the heart of Warrandyte.
We run regular Tamil Feasts and they are amazing nights of food, community and story. We are really passionate about helping people seeking asylum. So over 2 years now we have been providing free housing, training and employment opportunities. Our goal is to help people get the start they so badly need and to put them in a position where they can get long term housing and employment. We have played our little part in helping multiple people do that so far and look forward to doing more. One of the ways you can help support the work as well as experience incredible Tamil food is by coming along to a night where our resident Sri Lankan Nigethan cooks up a Tamil Feast to feed your stomach and soul.
Our belief is that a healthy community always looks after those on the margins and provides for those that often do it tough. We intentionally employ and offer training to people who may find it hard to get employment in normal cafes or hospitality businesses. Society often focuses on the “impairment” or the “disability”, we focus on the person and the positives that they bring to our community and they often have a loyalty and a work ethic that blows our minds. It’s all part of the “it’s far greater to give than receive” philosophy.
We already lots of other things like providing space for local artist to display and sell their art work. Many of the artist volunteer in the café and we don’t charge them any commission. We had a creative studio in the café called “createspace” which have just removed as we renovate the café space. We are looking forward to opening up another studio space as part of the renovation and welcoming back many of the artist that were using the space to once again create beautiful art. We provide that studio space for free and many of our customer have enjoyed watching artist create while enjoying great food and coffee
We have lots of great opportunities to do more of the work we are doing. We are looking at possibly doing more social enterprises in other communities. We have also been working with MIRVAC in some of their new growth corridor developments to help establish genuine ‘people’ focused community hubs that help to keep people connected and add value to the whole community. We are committed to people and place so the future is more of that.
People are the heart and soul of Now and Not Yet. We are about “the one”. The one that needs the other to get around them, to help and support them through tough times. The one who feels unseen or marginalised because they are different, shy or have a “disability”. Many “ones” make a community so we are committed to ‘the one’ and the many. In all of that we always aim to do our absolute best with everything we have.
We work hard at providing great coffee, food, service and community space. We have to compete on a commercial level and so people expect that you do those things well, and so they should. We do these things well so that we can continue to support everyone we have the privilege of connecting with.