Bellas Cafe and licensed Italian Restaurant has been one of the real success stories of the Parkes business community.
Established in 2005 by Matt and Tara Cope in the main street, it has continued to grow each year.
Matt and Tara came from Condobolin to Parkes to set up the business, and this is their story...
Why did you choose to start your business in Parkes?
Tara - “Opportunity and affordability. We had been running a cafe in Condobolin and were looking for the next challenge.
“To set up in Parkes was less expensive than Dubbo or Orange - whilst still giving us an opportunity to expand.”
Matt - “The costs of overheads were really important to us when we were initially setting up as we were still very young but we were also still learning the business.”
How has it grown and developed?
Tara - “In little steps - with a lot of trial and error,” - “especially a lot of error,” laughs Matt.
Tara explains: “We established in Parkes in 2005 with just an espresso bar to test the market. At that stage we had a very small shopfront facing the main street which could seat approximately 20 people.
“Towards the end of 2006, we added a kitchen which allowed us to serve breakfast and lunch in a cafe style and we expanded our seating to 30 people - it was very cosy!
“Demand continued to grow and in 2009 we took the next step and asked our landlords to purchase the property behind us, enabling us to renovate, and expand our business to cater for up to 70 people and also added the dinner service.
“We have now added an additional step and started to open seven days a week and six nights for dinner.
“Business has been going really well which in turns means that we can employ more staff.”
Where are the majority of your customers from?
Matt - “We have a wide variety of customers, although mostly women.
“We seem to cater for different groups - including young people, families who come in for breakfast on the weekends, mothers who pop in for coffee after the school drop-off, business people, parents needing a night out without the kids, people who have retired and are travelling through who stop and share stories about their wonderful adventures.
“We also have regular customers from Dubbo and Orange who pop over for dinner about once a month.
“We seem to appeal to a wide audience and I think this is part of why we have been successful.”
What's your favourite part of your work day?
Matt - “The morning coffee rush. We probably have over 100 regular customers who come in every morning, to say hi and grab their coffee to help kick start their day.
“Really, any part of the day that it’s really busy. It’s a great rush.”
Tara - “I like the night service as it means that I can be creative with the food.
“Saturday morning breakfast,is also great. It’s really nice to see families enjoying themselves.”
What advice would you give to businesses wanting to set up in Parkes?
Tara - “Be in love with the reality of what you want to do and not just the idea. Start small and don't bite off too much to start with.
“Ensure you have good supply chains. If you have a good product the Parkes community will support you and are very loyal.”
Matt - “The people of Parkes are good people.
“They are also smart and in some way frugal - they want to see good value for money and customer service.
“If you can supply this you will receive the patronage.”