11 July 2012

Hello Yellow Brick Road

Just two weeks ago, Equator Coffee entered her tenth year of operation; having first opened her doors on the 27th of June 2003.  How time flies.  It seemed not long ago I was going round the bank shaking everyone's hand, wishing them well and saying my farewells.  I can almost remember what I said to everyone...  well, may be not all of them, but definitely most.

Which makes me think; has it really been nine years already?

People ask whether I miss working in the bank.  Honestly?  Yeah, I did.  But not anymore.  In the beginning - when my coffee bar was still new - it was very challenging for Oi Len and I from a business point of view.  This made us wonder every so often whether we had made the right decision in leaving the bank's employ together.

We were the first coffee bar to open here in Sandakan and, at the time, the town's folks weren't used to paying premium prices for a cup of coffee.  A huge amount of time and energy was expended by the missus and I on educating them about gourmet coffees.  To be honest and putting it as it is, the other three coffee bars that subsequently opened here (copycats all of 'em) have a lot to thank us for.

Nine years on, I'm glad my shop is still considered by many as the place to go to for coffee and cakes.  Are there still challenges?  Of course there are; just read my earlier post of 18th February 2012.  But Oi Len and I are now seasoned businesspeople and despite the occasional setback,  we invariably get back up.  We're survivors.

Come June next year,  Equator Coffee celebrates her tenth anniversary.  And unless we walk under a bus tomorrow, I'm certain our shop will still be around then to welcome customers.

When we left the bank, there were doubters amongst our then-colleagues.  Many were sceptical if we'd make it.  Huge gamble; crazy idea, they said.  And although he wasn't amongst the sceptics, I remember a very good buddy of mine singing "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" to me round about the time.  The Oxford dictionary defines the Yellow Brick Road as "a course of action that a person takes believing that it will lead to good things".

Back then, it seemed the bank was the Yellow Brick Road, where all good things lay.  No longer.  Oi Len and I took the bold decision to embark on a journey;  a journey on what I now call the Yellow Brick Road.  We've been walking it the last nine years and we're still walking it.  I say hello! Yellow Brick Road.

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