17 December 2023

From a 'whim' to opening day: the new South Coast cafe drawing crowds

| Claire Sams
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The inside of a cafe

The Local is a newly opened cafe in Dalmeny. Photo: Corallee Vimpani.

Some of us have an idea and plan every step of the way – others see a sign advertising a shop for lease and take a leap of faith.

The result of the latter was The Local, a recently opened cafe in Dalmeny on the NSW South Coast, which Corallee Vimpani owns and operates with Sabine Maskova.

“It all started on a whim, I guess you could say,” Ms Vimpani said.

“I went out to dinner with Sabine, and I said, ‘I had an idea at lunchtime – I think we should open a cafe’.

“We’d worked together before, so we knew we really get along and could make a good team.”

The cafe opened in early December, but first came the process of renovating their new shopfront.

“When we signed the lease, I was off on the Gold Coast, so we packed as much cafe equipment as we could into a truck and brought it down before we began renovating,” Ms Vimpani said.

“We did a lot of the work ourselves, which definitely saved on costs and allowed us to add our own creativity to the space.

“There was not so much blood, but there was sweat and a little bit of tears, for sure!

“The whole place had to turn from a little blue square into a venue that had a completely different look in about a month.”

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Ms Maskova said opening her own cafe meant she and Ms Vimpani would have more flexibility when making decisions.

“The biggest bonus point is that every time I was working for someone else in the past, I would get way too invested in it and just try to make it the best place possible,” she said.

“But when it’s your business, you can make the changes you would like to do to a business to make it successful.

“To be able to make the changes with someone like Corallee means we can make sure everything runs smoothly.”

As for designing the food options, Ms Maskova said their approach was “a marathon and not a sprint”.

“At the moment, we’re keeping it pretty simple,” she said.

“We’re just doing a few different things – like a slow-cooked pork burger that one of our staff members designed.

“Hopefully, over the next few weeks we’ll add some more menu items that you can’t get anywhere else in town.”

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Ms Vimpani said both women had a focus on supporting other businesses in the Dalmeny area.

“Our biggest thing is coffee – we love a good coffee ourselves and know there’s nothing worse than buying a bad coffee,” she said.

“We want to provide a consistently great coffee so people can come back the next day or the next week and know they’re still going to get that same great quality.”

Ms Vimpani said she hoped The Local would become known for more than its coffee within the community.

“I want it to be a place for people to come and meet each other and connect,” she said.

“For us, the enjoyment is seeing bums on seats, people telling us how much they love their coffee and that they’ll be coming back.

“We’re definitely excited for the future – it’s only been about two weeks since we opened and we already feel completely run off our feet.”

The Local is at Shop 4, 1 Noble Parade, Dalmeny, and is open from 7 am to 3 pm, seven days a week.

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