在挑戰裡 走出尋鹿的路| 尋鹿咖啡

在挑戰裡 走出尋鹿的路

文/Daniella 受訪者/尋鹿咖啡-煒展

如果心中種下一株苗 有朝一日會成一棵樹

開店這件事,在每個時代都有不同的挑戰,對門外漢來說當然困難,但對於專科餐飲、比賽獲獎,擁有令人稱羨的教職機會的林煒展來說,創業也是一大挑戰,他挑戰自己,也挑戰外人對他的評價,擁有今天的成就,可說是尋鹿的店老闆林煒展一路過關斬將得來的。煒展師傅兼老闆這樣談起自己的創業過程:「創業初心要回到2010年,我所有的餐飲專業都是在高雄餐飲大學養成,花了七年功夫。我已經習慣了高雄的步調,一開始回到彰化,對環境感到很陌生,也懷念高雄開闊的生活空間,以及在愛河邊享受咖啡的愜意,因此在心裡慢慢萌生開一間咖啡館的念頭。

隨著心中所感 想像也漸漸成形

煒展師傅拉著一家人投入創業,開店以前,觀察各區域的人潮與生活型態,評估開店位置。永安街、自強南路目前熱鬧滾滾,地段甚佳,但回顧多年以前,這一區的店家數、居住人口與市中心落差很大,以當時的角度評估,多數開店者不會選擇在此開店,然而,煒展師傅卻看中了緊鄰在側的大賣場,因為與大賣場相鄰,附近自然形成生活徒步區,徒步區未來也可能形成生活圈,將會是人們頻繁造訪與願意停駐的地帶,在這裡開店雖然是挑戰,卻不失為一種機會,甚至是個先機。

打開尋鹿 找尋一種生活的路

在開尋鹿這間店以前,煒展師傅以他專業所學-義大利料理,開了「Eazy Pizza 義利廚房」,與尋鹿咖啡時差半年,如此密集的開店是為了讓人們關注這片區域,卻也同時需要有這兩者的專業分工,一家人的能力就體現在此。料理與經營,出餐與服務,雖然都發生在同一個場域內,但如何讓工作流程順暢,以及讓客人對店家產生歸屬感與滿足感,都是挑戰。

尋鹿一樓的吧台區開闊無間隔,客人與客人、吧檯手與客人都能自在的對話,這樣的設計是煒展師傅重現自己身為客人時的美好體驗,沒有用餐時間的限制也是咖啡店的特色之一,提供場域讓人們自然對話,自在做事,無須有時間上的緊迫感,這都是一開始規劃、持續至今的堅持。當然,在執行過程中不免遇到難關,煒展師傅也談到初期開店,有客人不遵守「使用者付費」的店規,曾有過小小的不愉快,但隨著開店日久,尋鹿對於自家原則的堅持,反而與客人培養出良好的默契,客人已能認同並尊重店家的規範,店家也回以同等的禮貌,小店的經營模式已然確立。

咖啡店本是促成人們對話的空間

許多自然的交流,也讓小店長成各自獨特的樣貌。訪談間,我們看到各式各樣以「鹿」為主題的裝飾,原以為這些都是店家的收藏,但林煒展提到,其實有許多件鹿形裝飾是客人從各地帶來的,就好比牆上的鹿頭,客人覺得放在尋鹿比放在家裡更合適,所以送給尋鹿,或者有客人以一件鹿形小物換得一杯咖啡,這種趣味的交流也是咖啡店與街區居民對話的方式之一。

嘗試合作 嘗試共融

不論在哪個時空、哪個街區,開店對於店老闆的挑戰總是不會停歇,回看2012年,當時的彰化咖啡店或獨立小店雖然為數不多,但如何讓更多人看見彰化,讓彰化人認同彰化,成為老闆之間經常討論的話題。

尋鹿身為小店界的前輩,也不斷嘗試各種合作,其中包含聯合其他店家共同向廠商叫貨,讓同業間成本降低,讓大家有更好的利潤,然而這樣的嘗試僅將共好範圍侷限在同業,無法擴散出去讓民眾有感,產生所謂的在地認同,因此他改採其他策略,連結小店舉辦集點、蓋章活動,試著讓彰化人更認識彰化,讓街區的人們看見轉變中的彰化。因此,若有在關注彰化小店,便會發現這兩、三年來小店生機逐漸萌芽,各小店有各自在意並思索的議題,也積極發聲,彼此間的連結有了新的形式,好比2017年的農恬好食派對,也是店與店共同促成的彰化風景。

煒展師傅談到,正因為尋鹿是家人互成夥伴的小店,每個人都可以依照自己的專長去發揮,其他家人會共同支持,所以像是他的弟弟煒翔在農恬好食裡全心投入,他們樂見其成,因為那是他真正想做的事,家人連同尋鹿都會讚聲認同,給予支援。

訪談後 白色方塊也想說

這一路上看到小店們的橫向連結,都是大家為了要持續共好而努力付出,只希望小店們的在地紮根,能對彰化、對街區產生更美好的果實。

04 736 0960 FB:尋鹿咖啡

彰化市永安街476號 No.476, Yong’an St., Changhua City, Taiwan

 

Overcoming challenges in Caribou Cafe

Interviewee/ Wei-Chan of Caribou Cafe Interviewer and Editor/ Daniella

Seeking opportunity in expertise

When it comes to cafe entrepreneurship, various challenges await. For Wei- Chan, owner of Caribou Cafe, it is also a major challenge for him to start his own cafe business. He used to study in culinary school, won awards and had an ideal teaching job. The challenges he face are upon himself but also towards others who hold a stereotypical impression of him. Wei-Chan spoke of his original intention to open a cafe. “It all dates back to 2010. I’ve had 7 years of professional training in Kaohsiung Culinary School, and I was quite used to living in Kaohsiung. When I first came back to Changhua, everything was unfamiliar to me. Meanwhile, I found myself missing the spaciousness and leisurely lifestyle in Kaohsiung where I could enjoy a cup of coffee at the side of Love River. That was when I started contemplating a cafe of my own.”

As the idea became clearer

Wei-Chan involved the whole family in his entrepreneurship. The flow of passerby and demographics was considered so as to choose the best location. However, Yong An Street and Zi Chiang S. Road were not as prosperous as it is now. Not many stores nor people
resided in that area back then. That said, a clear-minded entrepreneur would not have decided to do business there. However, Wei-Chan thought the location was actually promising as it sits right next to a mall. The area that surrounds naturally becomes a pedestrian zone where residents seek to fulfill daily necessities, and as people walk around, they will naturally notice news stores. Hence, what seemed to be a challenge can actually become an opportunity.

Exploring a lifestyle with Caribou Cafe

Before opening Caribou Cafe, Wei-Chan ran “Easy Pizza”, an Italian deli based on his expertise in cooking Italian cuisines. He then started Caribou in half a year, which successfully caught people’s attention. However, working double jobs means double loading. Both stores require the professional work distribution among Wei-Chan’s family. And that has always been a real challenge.

The ground floor of Caribou Cafe features open space. It is where customers and baristas can easily chat. The layout is in fact built after Wei-Chan’s personal ideal setting as a customer who loves to hang out at cafes. Another feature of Caribou Cafe is that there is no time limit. Wei-Chan intends to offer a venue where people can talk among themselves or cater to whatever tasks at hand simply at ease. Since day one, Caribou has been welcoming customers without imposing time restriction. However, speaking of rules, there has been several incidents of dispute with customers on this matter initially. Nevertheless, with hindsight, it is a process of developing a set of manners to foster a sense of respect and recognition among customers.

A cafe is faced with all sorts of challenges all the time

Whether the challenge is with people’s expectation, or it is brought upon by the owner’s self-imposed standards, the cafe itself is essentially unique for the exchanges happening in that domain. In Caribou Cafe, one might assume that the considerable amount of “caribous” seen in the cafe’s decor are probably part of the owner’s personal collection. Surprisingly, many of the caribous are actually gifts from customers. For instance, the head taxidermy on the wall was given by a customer who reckoned the cafe a better spot for the display of his home accessory. There used to be a customer who traded a caribous for a cup of coffee. This kind of interpersonal exchanges are something unlikely to occur somewhere else. More specifically, this shows that a cafe is a place where residents of the neighborhood can engage in vibrant dialogues.

Collaborating for inclusiveness

Running a store as an entrepreneur is forever going to be challenging. Back in 2012, there were not many cafes or independent stores so to speak. Today, owners of the stores that are open for business often gather and exchange views on how to promote Changhua, and how to help get more recognition on Changhua among locals.

As a pioneering independent store in Changhua, Caribou Cafe constantly seeks for different collaborations that gather local awareness. One thing Caribou Cafe has done is to create an alliance that collaboratively order supplies from the same supplier with other stores in Changhua. It was to lower the cost and bring up profit for everyone. However, the impact of this method was only effective initially. In the long run, it doesn’t really help with establishing a sense of local recognition. Therefore, Caribou Cafe tried to organize fun fairs and events that invite locals to learn more about Changhua. Gradually, people are starting to see changes. Evidently, independent stores are starting to prosper in these couple of years. Each store has a unique perspective and issues that involve local
voices. New ways of collaborations are also introduced. For instance, the 2017 Farm Good Eat Party was a successful event organized by independent stores that advocate for Changhua.

Wei-Chan further implied that because Caribou Cafe is a family business, every member of his family can do what they do best individually based on a shared goal. Whereas, the lively interactions and collaborations among independent stores are based on the aspiration for Changhua to become better.

04 736 0960 FB:尋鹿咖啡

彰化市永安街476號 No.476, Yong’an St., Changhua City, Taiwan

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