Toli’s the full bean when it comes to coffee
South African born and raised, Toli Avgerinos, runs Atomica Coffee, one of Melbourne’s leading boutique coffee roasters, located on Brunswick Street in Fitzroy.
From inception up until the setting up process, how did you start your business?
I first got into the coffee business in 1991, at a cafe at the Prahran Market, and this led to an intense interest in coffee.
I realised that there was a lack of diversity in available coffees at the time and I started blending my own recipes, buying beans from various coffee roasters.
I began teaching proper preparing of espresso coffee making, such as milk texturing and extraction, which was not a common practise back then.
In 1999, I was able to pursue my passion, in coffee, in a direct and specific way by actually been involved in sourcing green beans, roasting and blending in my new business Atomica Coffee, a process and journey which I still continue today.
What would you say stands out as the comparative advantage of your business over the competition?
Our focus has always genuinely been about the coffee quality and the training, feed back and monitoring of our customers to ensure as much as possible the quality of the coffee being served.
Did your Greek Australian background help you or impede you during your early days?
Having been born in South Africa, and having a strong Greek influence, I found Australia, offered me the opportunity for a positive future.
How is business currently?
Having previously owned a business in the recession of early 90’s, and experiencing growth of no less than 15 percent, during that time we focused on quality and value for money.
We are being even more diligent now on the quality facets of our business, from roasting, testing each coffee batch right through to the retraining of customers.
We are finding that in the last five months, that not only our retail store Atomica Cafe, but also our wholesale customers coffee orders have all increased by five to 12 percent across the board.
What is your vision for the future of your business?
The vision of the future of our business is to focus on steady growth, driven by the ideals and strengths, and not forgetting the values that have given us our reputation and growth.
Do you have any tips for young entrepreneurs?
For young entrepreneurs, travel and experience life, talk and listen as much as you can, follow your own passions.
Try to innovate and not emulate, and remember to always respect and remember people that helped you along the way.
Business is not only about being successful, happiness comes from following and fulfilling your passions.
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