Rings are objects that we buy to hold our memories, that sit on our hands…
“We’re trying to create a space to effect social change for the greater good.”
Trader & Co in Yass is a social change collective, an enterprise that aims to help communities move towards a more sustainable way of living.
“It is our aim to foster creativity, small business, support local communities or those far-flung,” says co-founder Daniel Neuhaus. “Hence our core values: Meet, Share, Create.”
Daniel and his business partners – Kate MacMaster and Sophie Peer – have created a space with the help of their families where people can grab a fantastic coffee or juice, eat wholesome food, and meet and connect with friends and strangers alike.
There is a bold vision behind this local focus.
“We are trying to create a space to effect social change for the greater good,” says Daniel. “A space that has room for people to grow, to learn and share, to work with others to pursue ideas. A space that empowers action and inspires critical thought and reflection; a space where kindness, humanity and compassion become the core of our community, our children.”
Each person behind Trader & Co has witnessed the need for a space like it.
Daniel studied primary education and his wife Toni is qualified in graphic design and multimedia. Together, they’ve travelled as missionaries to over a dozen countries, including Brazil, Thailand and Vanuatu.
“Our passion really lies in people,” says Daniel. “Specialty coffee has the ability to empower people the whole way through the supply chain, from the farmer right through to the consumer.”
They will bring their business Six8 Coffee Roasters into Trader & Co in the form of a specialty coffee roastery and coffee bar. Their focus is on the story behind where and how the differently flavoured beans are sourced.
Kate MacMaster holds degrees in environmental science and capacity building for sustainable development. She’s worked for the international development sector, the environmental movement in Australia and in international counter-terrorism. She’s consulted in 15 countries but calls 300 acres of regenerated bush in the Yass Valley home.
Kate is setting up two spaces in Trader & Co.
‘The Workshop’ is flexible – it can be used as a meeting room for senior executives, a yogic retreat, a kid’s birthday party venue, and more. It has a capacity for about 40 and comes with catering package options and the mod cons of a modern meeting space.
‘The Hub’ is a quiet space where people can hire a desk for an hour, a day or a week. Kate imagines it will suit people who work from home but miss human interaction. She will provide fair-trade, ethical products for workers and guests to purchase.
Sophie Peer came to Yass four years ago from Sydney, where she worked for over a decade on refugee policy in not-for-profit organisations.
“Trader & Co is simply and extension of my involvement in what I have experienced as a very positive, changing and vibrant community,” says Sophie. “In Daniel, Kate and their families I have found kindred nutters with a social conscience and together we are creating a realistic blend of business, creativity, kindness and social action.”
Sophie will provide healthy foods ready to eat and drink in the form of Juicie Lucie – her mobile juice van – and Yass Wholefoods, which aims to provide self-serve, zero-waste, quality dried products.
“Think nuts, pulses, oats and more,” says Sophie. “It’s for those who want to buy in bulk or those keen to try some seemingly crazy ingredients without investing in a whole packet.”
The people behind Trader & Co are excited to see how the Yass Valley community and their visitors use their space to meet, share and create.
“As a partner in the venture, I have ideas that include traineeships and a marriage of the local and global,” says Sophie. “There may well be Trader & Co projects to come that I haven’t yet dreamed of!”
All images by Tim Bean Photography