The word “oikos” is a Greek word, meaning “household”, and it represents the epicentre of community shaping in ancient Greek times.
It’s the place where people are in control of their own world, and flowing out from there, it’s how they would influence the world around them.
Not through control, but through participation and blending this idea of home and community. For Oikos café owner, Brett Briggs, this wasn’t just a clever name to attract coffee aficionados to his establishment, it’s an ethos, a way of life that represents precisely what he is doing in the Nicholas Street Precinct.
“If anyone knows me or knows my wife, they’d know this is the way we live at home,” Brett said.
“It’s a revolving door at our house. The café is simply an extension of our home.”
If that’s true, the Briggs household must be a busy one. Despite the café only being open for a few months in the Precinct, there’s a growing crowd waiting at the shop window, despite
multiple baristas serving out hot drinks and warm smiles.
“We were hoping to have our food licence sorted by the time we opened but there has been a slight delay in that process,” Brett said.
“As a café owner that sells his reputation based on good food, good coffee and good company, we were behind the eight ball from day one and didn’t know how we could reach our ‘break even’ costs on selling coffee alone.
“A lease is your life and by taking this lease inside the Neighbourhood tenancy, I’ve signed up my entire family and our staff to this venture, so it was a bit scary.”
Brett added, “Thankfully, we’ve been really lucky and not only have we made break even, but we’ve managed to retain all of our incredible staff and even make a profit.”
That’s what happens in a community. A locally owned business has set up and set out to add value to the community it is part of.
Those who call this part of town home have rewarded that passion with their unwavering loyalty.
“We don’t think our customers owe us anything,” Brett said.
“It’s a privilege that they choose to spend their money with us.”
He added, “I have a massive heart for this community and think the only way to see lasting impact is to create a space that brings community together, it’s a better
ecosystem for everyone to thrive in no matter what your socioeconomic situation is.
“That’s what Oikos is, a place to come together and the Precinct was the perfect place to set that up.
“The Nicholas Street Precinct is the emerging heart of the city. We haven’t set out to change it, but to understand it, be a part of it and help get it into a better rhythm, and there’s plenty of others jumping on the wagon to do the same.”
The Nicholas Street Precinct is growing and will feature nearly 40 new tenancies once completed. Oikos was one of the first on board.
An independent report commissioned by Ipswich City Council indicates that the Precinct will attract about $714 million in annual spend on food and beverage alone by 2028.
The report also states the Precinct will bring up to 500 additional full time jobs into the city centre.
Next year will mark a major milestone as two major businesses will finally open their doors;
Commonwealth Hotel and Venue, which will be home to HOYTS cinema complex.