Friday Oct 21, 2016
Ex-mayoral candidate and self made entrepreneur Chlöe Swarbrick is opening a doughnut cafe and art gallery.
Swarbrick and partner Alex Bartley Catt have been working with associate Bryan Anderson on the renovation and development of the space they have coined Olly. The cafe is due to open in about a month, and will be located inside suburban cinema The Crystal Palace.
The idea for a doughnut cafe was concieved out of Swarbrick and Catt’s passion for the pastries, and disappointment in the lack of a doughnut scene in Auckland. “No one really does the sort of doughnuts that people want here,” claims Swarbrick.
Olly will have a range of doughnuts that will include both yeast and cake based recipes with a focus on the traditional circular shape. The aim is to create a brand that draws on both the American ideals and Melbourne doughnut trends.
Though Swarbrick concedes that “doughnuts aren’t extremely healthy”, they will be using high quality and natural ingredients.
The trio acquired the space following a change in management of the suburban cinema.
Swarbrick would walk past the empty store front daily and had designs on it for a while, as she has a infatuation with project spaces. Her initial plans for the space were solely for an art gallery.
Art has always been a great love of Swarbrick’s and she has been involved in a number of artistic projects over the last three years. She even founded The Goods last year, a “united front for local artists, photographers, and rag traders”.
Through that front Swarbrick set up a space similar to her current project, in St Kevin’s arcade last December. There they hosted a week long retail space with a revolving gallery.
“I love talented artists. It kind of hurts me when I see people not feeling confident in their passions”
Swarbrick aims to give artists a leg up to share their talent with a broader audience, potentially sell their works and gain more faith in their talent.
With this mentality towards the arts, the trio behind Olly have brought in artists from their networks to contribute to a mural covering the back wall of their cafe. Bryson Naik, Toni Gill and Jed Richardson are the collaborators on the art piece (pictured below).
The art displayed in the gallery will be on a monthly rotation with gallery openings to accompany the arrival of the new exhibitions.
The space is intended to be a permanent fixture, so locals can expect a bright future with plenty of fresh art in the village.
Some may be concerned by how far the space is from the centre of Mt Eden Village, however Swarbrick has no qualms. “Passerbys have been showing a lot of interest and we have a wide network,” she claims.
The sentiment is shared by nearby cafes, Oaeill Liang, a local cafe worker says “Some people think that we are very far away from the centre of the village, but a lot of people like that.” He believes that if businesses on the edge of the village work together they can increase their customer traffic.
The trio’s venture is a sign of what becomes of modern tertiary students as they enter the work force. A social media poll conducted shows that it’s a widely held view that after graduation students are likely to end up with diverse careers that stray from their qualification title.
Swarbrick is a prime example of this modern trend, as she graduated from Auckland University with a Law degree, and a Bachelor of Arts majoring in philosophy. Qualifications that seem odd considering her work history.
As a young woman involved in multiple projects and working a number of jobs, Chlöe Swarbrick holds a personal philosophy that fuels her drive. “Life is Suffering,” she says, a buddhist moral, and idea that she believes pushes her to make life meaningful.
– Sean Stapleton