I came across Groundskeeper Willie while researching suppliers for Indigo Bay in 2018. At first it was the name and logo that drew me in - who can resist, right? But as I learned more about the business the more impressed I became. Owned and operated by husband and wife team Will and Attie, Groundskeeper Willie is working towards a sustainable model including recyclable and reusable packaging, sourcing ethically and supporting education.
Check out Groundskeeper Willie on Indigo Bay here - we have some great coffee (including award-winning decaf!!!) and their delicious Hibiscus Spritz Tea.
Tell us about Groundskeeper Willie – what is it about and how did it begin?
Groundskeeper Willie is a coffee roaster based in beautiful Moffat Beach on the Sunshine Coast. Our roastery cafe serves coffee during the week and we wholesale beans to a number of cafes and restaurants in South East Queensland. We started roasting coffee while living in Canada, literally fell into it and never wanted to leave! We missed Australia and the sun and decided to move back home. It seemed the perfect fit to start up a coffee roastery right here where we wanted to live, and so Groundskeeper Willie was born.
What did you do before starting Groundskeeper Willie?
We were roasting coffee in Canada raising funds for a not-for-profit Groundswell Roasters in Canada where we lived for four years. Before that, we both had corporate jobs.
Is your brand your full-time job or a side hustle?
It’s our full time job, we have plenty of hustles on the side!
What is a typical day for you?
No day is really typical, but usually begins at the roastery serving coffee to our wonderful customers. We have a few regulars who have never missed a day since we opened, seeing them kicks our day off with great banter. After we shut we're usually roasting coffee or visiting the cafes and restaurants we supply for training and coffee deliveries. Once the day is done, it's laptop open to manage accounts, email enquiries and website orders.
Which part of your brand do you enjoy working on the most?
Attie - I like working with our social media, it’s been a great tool to meet and stay in touch with customers who may not be able to pop by every day. We also like networking with our industry and it’s the easiest (and most fun!) way to stay in touch with coffee friends we’ve met on our travels in Canada, the U.S. and Europe.
Will - I like accounting, no just joking, my favourite part of the job is setting up a new account with coffee. Improving their offering and running training sessions. A few weeks ago I trained a young lady who said she'd never be able to make a good coffee. An hour later she was pouring a perfect flat white.
You run your business with your partner – how do you handle working together?
Attie - For the most part it’s easy. We have different strengths so make sure we play to them. For instance I cannot stand doing invoicing, so Will takes this off my plate, must be love right? I can’t stand clutter and clunky processes , so spend most of my time in the roastery organizing, stocktaking and creating faster ways to do things.
Will - As she said, for the most part... Ha, no really it's pretty great working with somebody who knows you better than yourself. We both know when to step away and when the other person might need a gentle nudge to perform at their best. The downside is finding fresh (non-work!) conversation on date night!
Can you tell us what you have in mind for Groundskeeper Willie in the next 12 months?
Right now we're focused on finishing our fit out. We usually work at a pretty fast pace so building out has been a slow process. We're very excited to see the end result, each day there's something new to look at and knowing we've done a lot of it ourselves is so very satisfying.
Your Everyday life
What do you enjoy doing (outside of your brand!)?
Attie - Spending time at the beach with our dachshund Ralph and heading out for coffee or a bite to eat. We love seeing what’s new and exciting in our industry, and letting somebody else do the work for a change!
Will - Spending time at the beach or heading out for a row on the river.
What are you reading at the moment?
Attie - Under the Tuscan Sun. I've read it twice already but we're off to Italy at the end of August so it's keeping the vision alive!
Will - A book called 'Can't hurt me'.
What are you watching at the moment?
Attie - We’re in between Netflix binges right now, searching for a new show. We’re usually so tired when we hit the pillow so we only get the first ten minutes of each show, it’s little wonder we can’t get hooked. This week we've been watching the Goodwife.
You live on the Sunshine Coast and have a day with no responsibilities to do anything you like. What do you do?
Attie - I’d probably say we’d head away from work for a change of scenery, head north to Noosa, grab a coffee, take a walk in the national park, take a dip at Tea Tree Bay and finish up with a shameless Massimo's Gelateria ice cream followed by dinner at Sum Yung Guys.
Will - Attie is almost always in charge of the day off. She's usually got a spreadsheet of ideas, a bundle of energy and has been sending me hints on new places to visit for months prior.
Photo Regional Foodie
Which do you prefer?
Dogs, and plenty of ‘em!
Camping/staying in a hotel
We both like unique accommodation with a local touch, an AirBnB or a small hotel that’s run by owner managers who love what they do.
Home cooking/eating out
Attie - I love to cook, but we are so lucky to have such amazing food at our doorstep. The quality of food in Australia is outstanding and we love dining out whenever we can.
Will - Is this where I say Attie's cooking?
Watching a movie/reading a book
Attie - Books, but rarely have the time these days so it tends to be movies!
Will - Books but in audio book form.
Attie - Australian winter, North American summer.
Will - Winter, I do miss the snow.
Waking up early/staying up late
We’re both aren’t morning people, so it’s crazy that we got into coffee! We both love a sleep in, luckily so does the dog.
Mostly coffee, but there’s always time for tea.
Attie - Savoury. Good olives, salty jamon ham and fresh pistachios.
Will - I swing both ways when it comes to sweet and savoury.
We always make time for breakfast, usually eggs on toast or a frittata slice pre-made the night before. Starting the day dialing in coffee means you need something in your stomach to keep the jitters at bay!
Online shopping/in store shopping
Attie - We both love online shopping, it’s such a time saver. On holidays we tend to head in-store more and can’t get enough of the big store experience when in the U.S. I once ran around the Nike store in Portland shouting “I’m an Athlete” while trying on some new sneakers.
And finally, we have to ask, what is the best gift you have ever received?
Attie - The Costco engagement ring from Will. 5 sizes too big, fully refundable but gifted on one knee.
Will - Am I allowed to say my watch? It even came with different straps.
Photos courtesy of Groundskeeper Willie. Photo of coffee roaster by Regional Foodie