From The Canadian Rockies to Rockhampton

Published on 22 July 2020

Jess and Jarrod from Rocky Mountain Cafe

We recently caught up with Jess and Jarrod from Rocky Mountain Café to find out how they’re going after reaching the 6 month mark in June. Their treat cabinet always looks and tastes amazing and we’re loving their coffee on these cooler mornings.

With Jarrod born in Edmonton, Canada and Jess a local Rocky girl the decision to move back to Rockhampton was an easy choice, but opening a business wasn't originally the plan. What drives Jess and Jarrod is chasing life experiences and their biggest dream is to introduce themselves to the world. They absolutely love people and being able to make someone’s day which is the whole vibe of their cafe. “Inspiration for us is waking up each day knowing we have work to do, a place to go and people counting on us to provide them with something that makes their day or that satisfies them and gets them motivated for the day which could be as simple as a good cup of coffee.” Why not pop in this weekend for great coffee, fresh food and some sweet treats!

FUN FACT | “I think a lot of guests have not picked up on is our name and its meaning. We named the Cafe "Rocky Mountain Cafe" for the simple reference to how Jess and I met in The Canadian Rockies, Jess is from Rockhampton "Rocky" and we are situated at the base of Mount Archer.” - Jarrod 


WHAT WAS THE MOTIVATOR TO START YOUR BUSINESS?

Jess and I have always been ambitious young people. When Jess lived in Canada for 2 years she worked predominantly in the hospitality industry, I personally worked in hospitality for the better part of 14 years. When we arrived back in Rockhampton we noticed a tremendous opportunity to be able to showcase a different approach to service, we felt we could inspire the community with an innovative approach. We as a team at RMC are always striving to tell a better story and with our background in hospitality we felt we could have a very strong go at taking the cafe scene to a higher standard of excellence.

WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE YOUR BUSINESS?

In Canada, Jarrod worked the past 14 years in Operations Management for hotels and restaurants. Jess was involved with tourism and restaurant hospitality throughout the Canadian Rockies. When we moved back to Rockhampton, Jess worked with Virgin Australia.

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES YOU HAVE FACED?

Our biggest challenge besides COVID-19 has been finding staff. We have finally turned that corner and have added some key new members to the team that we hope they will help us grow and execute our vision of Rocky Mountain Cafe.

WHAT'S THE NUMBER ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN?

The piece of advice that has resonated with us the most and that a good portion of our guests have mentioned is that we are the faces of the company, and to not let that change. We have learned that trying to complicate things, or to try and do too much too quickly is actually less beneficial. Our best asset is that we are not a big company and we have the freedom to be as creative and innovative as we want. We continue to always take pride in being original and never letting the business become stagnant or complacent. Every day we look to improve and to cultivate our identity within the Rockhampton Cafe scene.

WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO OTHER YOUNG PEOPLE LOOKING TO BREAK INTO BUSINESS?

Do it. It will be the hardest and most time consuming venture you will ever enter into. But, the reward of working for your own values and vision is so much more gratifying than any job we have ever held.

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN THE NEXT 5 YEARS?

We hope to be still here in the heart of Frenchville continuing to be the hidden gem we are. We definitely have goals to grow as a business and we would love to continue our business development in hopes to add further locations or other layers to the company. Our biggest goal is to operate a successful local business here in Rocky as well as one somewhere in the Canadian Rockies. 

WHAT IS YOUR DREAM?

Our biggest dream is to introduce ourselves to the world. We love people, we love interactions, we adore making the day for someone. We continue to dream about how we can continue to give ourselves the opportunity to chase life experiences.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU?

Inspiration for us is waking up each day knowing we have work to do, a place to go and people counting on us to provide them with something that makes their day or that satisfies them and gets them motivated for the day which could be as simple as a good cup of coffee.

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY ABOUT LIVING IN THE ROCKHAMPTON REGION?

I think me (Jarrod) being Canadian the best part of living in Rockhampton is being able to live every day in authentic Queensland. The obvious major difference is the weather. It is remarkable how a winter here is hotter than my summer's back home. We absolutely love that just a short drive away we can be at the beach enjoying a beautiful day, we have easy access to Keppel Island and can enjoy the pure beauty of the crystal blue water and white sand beaches. The landscape in Rocky is truly remarkable and we truly feel Rockhampton is a hidden gem in Queensland and that a lot of people just don't know about it.

HOW DID GROWING UP IN THE REGION HELP YOUR SUCCESS WITH YOUR BUSINESS?

Jess grew up in the region. The biggest influence that has translated into us having a successful start is that it has provided us with the simple fact that word of mouth amongst family and friends have helped us build a reputation and following throughout Rockhampton.

WHERE ARE YOU FROM?

Jarrod - Born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Jessica - Born in Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO MOVE TO THE REGION?

Originally, when we decided to move back to Rockhampton our plan was not to open a business. Rockhampton was merely a point of origin for Jess and I because her family is located in the area. We actually had planned to do what most Canadian tourists do and buy a 4x4 and circle the country and explore the vast country Australia is.

HOW HAS LIFE CHANGED SINCE MOVING?

Dramatically. For us we went from being adventurers to business owners. We love being involved in the community and we have really made Rockhampton home.

WHAT'S THE NUMBER ONE PIECE OF ADVICE FOR PEOPLE MOVING TO THE REGION?

Get involved with the local community, whether it be joining a gym or becoming a member at a golf course, or opening up a business, the locals are great, if you give people the opportunity to get to know you the doors to being successful in Rockhampton becomes a lot more opportunistic.

One last tidbit I think a lot of guests have not picked up on is our name and its meaning. We named the Cafe "Rocky Mountain Cafe" for the simple reference to how Jess and I met in The Canadian Rockies, Jess is from Rockhampton "Rocky" and we are situated at the base of Mount Archer. I think a lot of people sometimes think we're trying to emulate the Canadian Rockies but we definitely want people to know that we want it to feel like you're in an authentic Australian cafe but we have adopted the culture of the Canadian hospitality industry.