Owner: James McGovern, Allias Grindrod and Scott Gooding
Location: Buddina, Queensland
Industry: Hospitality and tourism
The Good Place co-owner James McGovern says his health food cafe survived this year’s setbacks because of its connection to the local community.
Located in Buddina on the Sunshine Coast, The Good Place had only been open for two weeks before the federal government imposed restrictions in late-March.
So, when foot traffic from the neighbouring shopping centre slowed down and indoor dining was no longer allowed, McGovern knew takeaway sales were not going to be enough to keep the new business afloat.
That’s when McGovern turned to the local community.
“Through social media and other digital channels, we reached out to local gym owners, operators and community leaders,” McGovern says.
McGovern used digital tools such as Zoom and social media to grow the brand’s online presence and establish partnerships with local businesses and organisations.
As restrictions played out, The Good Place began selling a range of healthy, ready-to-eat meals which it delivered to local residents.
“As a health food cafe, the fitness industry is our largest local market and we wanted to create a product that supported them and their goals through what seemed like an impossible time,” McGovern says.
The cafe launched several events, including a socially distanced beach clean, which saw participants remove more than 30 large garbage bags of rubbish from the local beach before enjoying a free coffee, and a bush tucker food event.
“We engaged with the local Kabi Kabi tribe, the traditional custodians of Sunshine Coast land, and with their support and guidance, we ran a bush tucker degustation event,” McGovern explains.
McGovern also partnered with the Buddina Community Garden to build a garden bed on-site, which the business now picks herbs and vegetables from to use in the kitchen and bar.
Despite restrictions easing, The Good Place has no intention of ceasing its community-focused events.
The health food cafe is currently planning a fitness mega-event, which will feature everything from crossfit and yoga to paddleboarding and brunch.
Given the effort The Good Place team has put into engaging with local residents and groups, it’s hardly surprising the business’ core value is community.
“Everything we did had a tangible effect locally, because everything we do is local,” McGovern says.
“We use local suppliers, we run local community events, we support local charities, so when COVID-19 hit, we already had the distribution channels in place to support these businesses and groups,” McGovern says.
It’s The Good Place’s dedication to working with the community in a manner that is creative, health-oriented and environmentally conscious that impressed the SmartCompany Resilience Awards’ panel of judges.
For Resilience Awards judge and Salesforce vice president for growth business Adrian Towsey, The Good Place is “all about community”.
“This is what I think about when I think about community,” Towsey says.
“The Good Place has been able to make deep connections with the people and businesses around it. This is what kept it, and them, all going throughout the lockdown.”
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