PORT ALFRED – A long-time dream of a young man to own a business became a reality three years ago when a new coffee shop was opened in Port Alfred.
Today Burksies is flourishing and plans to expand the business are under consideration.
Chris Burks, the owner of the coffee shop, said in coming to Port Alfred three years ago he left family and friends behind to embark on a new adventure.
Burksies was started and is till today operating from its original venue in the Duck Pond Centre but for a number of alterations. One was to add a sliding door and deck to improve the seating capabilities of the quaint venue.
“It was just four walls and two doors three years ago with not one customer in sight,” Burks said.
The venue started offering a pretty complex menu. “The complex menu included adventurous meals to tantalise the curious taste buds of potential customers,” Burks said.
A hectic opening day was encountered. Burks put that down to the “growing South African delivery services”.
With two staff members in assistance they had to tackle opening day without many of the required cook utensils. “On day one many of my cooking equipment, pots, pans and toasters, had not yet arrived, and we had to do the best we could,” he said.
“We worked as hard as possible to satisfy every customer that walked into our shop. We were making toasted sandwiches in old frying pans on top of the stove. Milkshakes were mixed by hand. Looking back I don’t know how we managed to hold the fort as well as we did,” he said.
Burks said that their first year was a learning experience that no text book or lecture in college could ever give you.
“From dealing with the local municipality to marketing in a small town and just basically becoming part of a small community were challenges we had to face and there were ups and downs but it was all worthwhile in the end,” he said.
He had plenty of advice from locals, sometimes sound advice on who to approach in getting things done and often also who not to approach ever.
He also received lots of encouragement from locals explaining that the quality of life in a small town more often than outweighs all negatives associated with small towns.
Everyone that lives or has lived in a small town will tell you that it’s never easy but the quality of life out ways all the negatives.
Burksies have been able to maintain a high standard of service since inception, something many customers will gladly endorse and they regularly return because of that.
“We have built a family of not only staff members but also of regular customers that call Burksie’s home,” he said.
“Despite practically living within the four walls I have made the venue comfortable for people to come and relax with a cup of coffee as if this was a home away from home for them,” he said.
Burksies also offer outside and function catering and on request do private dinners, all of which have become great hits.
“We have catered for everything from a nonagenarian birthday party to wedding anniversaries and no function is too big or too small,” he said.
Burks aims to provide each of his clients with a culinary experience that would not only suite their budget but include a meal to remember.
“I can with great honour say that we can proudly call ourselves the place to go to for breakfast and our select Italian imported coffee will really keep your taste buds coming back for more.”
Try Burksies birthday special for the duration of May. Parties of four will be given a chance to enter a lucky draw per meal. The winner at each table throughout the day will get their meal for free.
The venue will soon have its own website, which can be visited at http://www.burksies.co.za