A Melbourne coffee shop owner has unleashed on a woman who lives across the road after she opened a rival café in her lounge room.
Joe sent in his girlfriend Whitney to grill the owner of the rival coffee shop, Aida, but she told A Current Affair she is doing nothing wrong. Aida also operates a home-based salon, but Joe and Whitney say she crossed a line when she began serving food.
“So do you care if we open up a coffee shop in the house next door? Do you care if we open a coffee shop in the house next door?” Whitney asked Aida in a heated confrontation filmed by an A Current Affair crew.
The couple feel cheated as the City of Casey granted the coffee shop, Val’s Coffee and Desserts, a permit to sell food and coffee, even though it is a residential premise. A City of Casey spokeswoman confirmed to A Current Affair that the operation is legal.
“The council is killing us here – how can they do this? … Whoever approved this needs to be sacked,” Joe told A Current Affair.
Joe said he doesn’t mind competition if it’s on a level playing field. He says he and Whitney have spent almost four years of early mornings and late nights labouring to cover hefty overheads, overheads which he claims Val’s Coffee and Desserts have avoided by operating at home.
They fear Val’s Coffee and Deserts is in a position to undercut their prices. A ham and cheese sandwich and a coffee at Val’s Coffee and Desserts cost just $5, half of what customers pay for the same combo at Joes Java.
I fear that they’re able to cut their pricing to undercut us and … before you know it, we have no customers left,” Joe said.
“If that happens, then Joes Java will be no more.”
Joe says Joes Java is the “cash cow” of his business portfolio, keeping the other two stores he owns afloat, a milk bar and another coffee shop.
“I’ve got the weight of the world on my shoulders right now,” Joe said.
“We’ve got three stores now … and between the three stores, if something goes wrong along the lines, it could all come crashing down very easily.”
Australian retailers are struggling as shopping strips that once prospered sit partially empty.
Figures from data provider Illion show more than 54,000 businesses went under in Australia last financial year.
“Why doesn’t all of Australia set up shops in their homes. We won’t need shopping centres,” Joe said.