Although she’s never worked in hospitality or the literary scene, Vicki Kersey’s vision combines both. In December she’ll open the doors to REaD Café on Paradise Island, Surfers Paradise and she can barely contain her joy.
“Beyond excited,” she said, sitting with me in someone else’s café at Nobby’s.
“Just watching it every day, going in, seeing what the renovators are doing and seeing what’s in my head come to life, it’s indescribable.”
The space she’s turning into a community-focussed, family-friendly licensed café and bookshop is 300 square metres. Huge!
“The concept is something I’ve always wanted to do. I love coffee, I love books, I love wine,” Vicki said.
“As I did research into what’s already around, there’s nothing for authors. My focus is on local –food is local, beer and wine is local and the bookshelves will be filled with local authors.”
Vicki says she doesn’t have strong connections to the local literary scene, but she’s building them quickly. Her best friend, Monica Zwolsman is an author with an autobiography already out and her brother-in-law Benjamin Allmon has a memoir on its way.
As well as stocking local books she’s hoping to host book launches and she’s been in touch with more than 30 local authors about stocking their books. Writers like M J Stevens, Alana Fitzgerald and Diane Demetre are on that list.
“Plus I want to have local musicians,” she said. “I’d love to have some of the young, local ones who need a place to showcase their talent.”
Vicki showed me her instagram account (readcafegc) and it’s filled with stunning images of the space as well as the riverside views.
“I was blown away by this venue,” she said, explaining that it’s actually located in a resort. “It’s got a bar as well as a kitchen. It’s on the river with a beautiful outdoor deck.”
She’s hoping people will spend time there. Hang out. “Most coffee shops are small – you get in, you have your coffee and you’re out. This place is quite large, so you don’t need to do that. It’s a place to come and sit and chat with your friends.”
The food will be simple – gourmet pies, salads and choose your own pizza toppings with cake and coffee as well. There’ll be a children’s corner for reading and colouring in and as well as book launches Vicki is thinking about events like poetry slams and trivia nights. Her son will work behind the bar and exhibit his Stryker Night photography on the walls.
While the opening date has been held up a little, it’s definitely a goer for December.
“We’ll have a soft opening but we may have to wait until January to do the big launch,” she said
_ _ _
REaD Cafe will open its doors in December or January, so keep your eyes peeled. It’s located on Paradise Island, Surfers Paradise.