Home » No experience, no worries: local friends celebrate one year as first-time cafe owners

No experience, no worries: local friends celebrate one year as first-time cafe owners

Jamie Furness    November 18, 2022    4 min read   


One August day last year, Eric Trieu and Shirley Wienand arrived at Simple Bliss for a coffee to cap-off their usual Saturday morning parkrun ritual, but little did they know this particular visit would take their friendship in an exciting new direction.


“We were just sitting there on the deck having coffee, and Shirley was chatting to me and asked if I thought the owner at the time would sell one day,” Mr Trieu said. 


“So I walked up to the owner, asked her if she would sell, and she said ‘sure, give us an offer!’ That’s how it happened.”


They would have been happy to have gone home from their run that day with a PB in the bag, but they suddenly had something more impressive to tell their families about. 


They were well on their way to becoming the new owners of Simple Bliss.


On September 8 this year, they marked one year to the day since welcoming their first customers through the door.


“My message to the community is thank you for supporting us and being so amazing,” Mrs Wienand said. 


“I am so proud of what we have been able to do in the last 12 months, and to see the community come back and say it has a lovely vibe warms my heart.


“And it would not be possible without our amazing loyal staff that run it from day to day.”

Simple Bliss is one part of their action-packed lives. Mrs Wienand works in the IT field, while Mr Trieu works in finance.


At the cafe, she looks after all the stocktake and admin, while he covers the marketing side.


So how did a couple of friends who had barely any hospitality experience behind them end up in this position?


“One of the main reasons I wanted to buy it was to create a happy community gathering place, giving something back to the community,” Mrs Wienand said.


Mr Trieu said aside from their genuine interest in trying something new like this and their love of foodie culture, part of the reason they bought Simple Bliss was to help improve it.


“The previous owner meant well, she did the best she could, but it got too much for one person to run, so that was the challenge,” he said.


He said the coffee, service, and overall atmosphere went downhill as a result and people were turning away from the cafe, so he and Mrs Wienand wanted to help turn that around.


“It wasn’t the best, and most people were leaving and going elsewhere,” he said. “We wanted to create a nice place where we could all catch up for coffee because there was nothing really like that in the area.”


Mrs Wienand said the most challenging aspect has been all the learning on the go.


“It is a lot harder than we initially thought,” she said. “It takes up a lot of our time and we have both had to sacrifice a lot, but I wouldn’t change a thing.”


The first time either of them touched a commercial coffee machine was in the weeks leading up to their first day when they were choosing a new coffee blend.


But for everything they initially lacked in experience, they made up for in local knowledge and other skills they brought from their respective careers, Mr Trieu said.


“I think if you ask most locals, it’s our love, our passion,” he said. “We genuinely care; we live here as locals and we want to give back to locals.”


Now, they have found their mojo and have big plans to keep the momentum going.


In their first year, they updated menus, chose a new Merlo coffee blend from a local supplier, and changed the atmosphere with little tweaks to the decor.


In their second, they want to take that one step further with major renovations and new equipment.


“So a full new fitout, fully enclosed, full aircon, and new coffee machines,” he said.

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Jamie Furness