Cafe loses battle to survive
THE closure of Tirra Lirra Coffee Emporium tomorrow will be bittersweet for owners Melanie Peut and Craig Scott - and for its patrons.
Since opening in February last year, Tirra Lirra has hosted many community events, including open mike poetry sessions, art exhibitions and music gigs.
Mr Scott said the cafe hadn't made a profit since the construction of Icon Ipswich and changes to customer parking on Bell St affected patronage.
"Since all this started on Bell St last year we've been spending money rather than making it," Mr Scott said.
"Our first year was busy, and business was very promising."
The pair agreed there was an element of relief in announcing the cafe's closure.
"It's a double-edged sword, we were a great venue and had a dedicated customer base, but now it's a weight off our shoulders; it was taking more money than it was making after the problems with parking and everything else in the street," Mr Scott said.
Ms Peut said running Tirra Lirra had, overall, been a positive experience.
"It was good, restoring the building and hosting local performers were great experiences," Ms Peut said.
"It was heaps of fun, and we could see the potential but sadly it's not there any more.
"We'd like to thank our loyal customers, who have always supported us."
Ms Peut and Mr Scott spent three months prior to their February, 2011, opening restoring the heritage features of the Bell St building's interior.
"We've always had an interest in heritage buildings and the arts and that project was definitely my favourite," Mr Scott said.
Beeble Poets organiser Brett Dionysius said the cafe will be sorely missed by many people.
"Tirra Lirra was the pefect venue for poetry and music events, and we'll struggle to find another suitable venue," Mr Dionysius said.
Tirra Lirra will open today and tomorrow from 8am to sell heritage furniture, cafe outfitting pieces, crockery and other items.
"We're even selling the counter," Mr Scott said.
The pair said they will remain active in Ipswich, particularly regarding the Bell St construction and also in organising local events.