Ten years ago, Tim Manning and his wife Myf opened a small espresso bar and coffee roasters in Curtin shops. Exposed brickwork in the shop gave them the perfect name: Redbrick.
With a staff of two running the sunny cafe, Tim planned to roast coffee in the corner, but as he told Region Media, “from there, we got very busy.”
They chose the corner block at the Curtin shops because so many cafes were centred around the city.
“We were looking for a place that had a lot more character and somewhere that was really easily accessible for the community. People embraced it and they loved having life back in their local shops. That was our objective, just to have a really warm and inviting place where people could come and hang out and also just have that connection to where coffee actually comes from,” Tim said.
A decade later, Redbrick has grown to 68 staff, five Canberra locations, and local and international wholesale customers. Tim has seen Canberra’s coffee scene grow both in size and reputation, and he is excited to see more people recognising that change.
“The last 10 years have seen a lot of talented people stay in Canberra as opposed to leaving to chase bigger fish. I think having the talent stay in the town has really changed the vibe of the city.”
Redbrick has certainly kept hold of many talented staff over the years, an impressive feat in an industry with notoriously high employee turnover.
Tim says a “huge part of the team” has continued to work with the business in one form or another. From baristas who’ve become roasters and managers to the former employees who now run a design business that does all of Redbrick’s branding.
“There’s a pretty long list of either Redbrick employees or alumni who are still involved in the business.”
As well as their headquarters in Fyshwick and the Curtin cafe, Redbrick also runs Clay in Turner, Makeshift in the Nishi building in Acton, and the recently opened Arc on Constitution Avenue. They also supply three espresso bars in downtown Seoul and sell wholesale coffee to other international buyers in Korea and China. But despite the global interest, Canberra is still a central part of their business.
“We’ve always said we’re happy to take on new challenges and grow as a business as long as we never compromise what we’ve already established,” says Tim.
“That little shop in Curtin is actually really important to us in that it maintains the life that it has, and we get to deliver what we did on day one, 10 years on.
“As long as that’s possible and it has the same vibe then we’re happy to take on new challenges because it also creates new opportunities for the team that work within the business.”
To celebrate a decade of quality coffee, Tim and the Redbrick team are hosting a community block party this Friday evening from 4 pm to 7 pm.
“We just wanted to host an event where it all started. Curtin has an amazing community, and there’s also lots of people here who have helped the business over time, so we just wanted to have a bit of an event where we can come together as a community and celebrate.”
Unfortunately the predicted wet weather has caused a change of venue to their Fyshwick Roastery.
The event will feature live music from Canberra artists Lucy Sugerman and JEP, food vendors serving meatball subs, local wine and beer, and gelato made by local artisans Jasper & Myrtle. It’s safe to say there will also be plenty of Redbrick coffee!
So grab your picnic blanket and head down for the celebrations.