Q1.1: What inspired you to start Redleaf Cafe?
Originally, I was aiming to run a hostel. I’m not quite sure when the first time I visited Redleaf Hotel was. It was during the time when I was trying to find an appropriate location, but I have a very vivid impression of the moment I stepped in its door. I was deeply fascinated by the polished stone counter and the stairway at the entrance. My instinct at the time told me that this was quite a lovely old house. After some time with effort and rounds of communication, I started Redleaf Cafe. However, I will still be working towards opening up a hostel.
Q1.2: Were you specifically looking for an old house?
Yes. Ivy and I both like old houses. You can say that we’re particularly interested in old houses. I am from Taichung, so I also visited quite some places in search of our ideal location. Ivy came across Redleaf Hotel in Changhua, and after several visits and communication, we have come to decide that this was it.
Q2: What was your previous occupation before running Redleaf Cafe?
Before Redleaf, I am an English teacher and English tour guide. I still do both jobs now.
I was doing what I am doing right now. I taught Chinese culinary and beverage modulation at Da Der Commercial and Technical Vocational School. Before that, I worked at Chunshuitang restaurant for eight years.
Q3: Are there any interesting stories to share?
1.A lot of locals in Changhua do not know this place. Some learn about us by their friends’ Facebook posts or pictures posted on the internet. When they came to us, they also get to know the area around little west lane.
2.A lot of people from other cities or couples would come to us for a room because the sign still says Redleaf Hotel. (As this interview was taking place, a couple walked in and ask, “is accommodation available?”.)
1.During the time we were renovating the old house, neighbors were really friendly. An old lady brought us special gifts from her zipper shop. There was also this lady who gave us scouring pads after she saw us cleaning. People in this neighborhood are really kind to us.
2.There was this customer in 2015 that was really special to us. We all know that Changhua is very close by Taichung geographically, so a lot of people tend to go to Taichung to shop or dine. Surprisingly, that customer said to me, “In 2015, I am going to support shops in Changhua, so I’m going to have my coffee in Changhua”.
Q4: Did coffee or the Cafe bring any changes to your life?
It’s a different level of freedom and an adjustment to my living pace.
The year I started the cafe is a year in which I multiplied my roles. I’m a teacher, a boss and also a student as I simultaneously pursue my master degree. Although it’s definitely hectic, I am reaching out to a lot more people of various kinds. My mind is expanded and more exchanges are happening.
Q5: Do you have any suggestion for people who wish to open up their own cafe/ shop?
Come to little west lane!!
Stick to what you believe in.
At the end of the interview, I asked the cafe owner, Yi-Fang, “How long do you see yourself doing this? Fifty years?” Yi-Fang replied, “Yes. If Redleaf Cafe can operate until fifty years later, it’s gonna be something extraordinary. By then, Redleaf the old house will reach its 100-year-old birthday!
No.5, Ln. 100, Chang’an St., Changhua City