When No.9 Station, a café dedicated to servicing the Fire and Rescue NSW HQ applied for support through the Café Recovery Project, helping them out was a no-brainer. Like all other Aussies, watching the bushfires earlier this year was heartbreaking for us, so we feel lucky to have an opportunity to indirectly support these legends by helping Amrita and her No.9 Station Café make it through this challenging time.
Amrita is the co-owner of No.9 Station, an independent café at Fire & Rescue NSW HQ in Greenacre. When shattered Fire and Rescue NSW support staff come into No.9 Station during the workday – they get more than just the coffee they pay for. They get Amrita, an eternal ray of sunshine whose enduring positivity is as invigorating as her coffee is. She says there’s no place she’d rather be – and no customers she’d rather be serving.
“I have been leasing the cafe at Fire and Rescue NSW for nearly three years and I love the community that I'm with,” she explains. “What [keeps] me going is that I get up in the morning and I love coming to work.”
The café got its name as it’s located at the site of the ninth fire station to be established in NSW. Today, it’s where Amrita serves up coffee and a laugh to administrative and support staff, mechanics and visiting rescue crews.
Ken, the Chief Superintendent at Fire & Rescue NSW loves it and says it helps keep the team’s energy high.
“We can get away from the daily grind of the work that we do here,” he says. “It’s a great place for us to network, relax, and refocus on what [we’re] doing. It’s a great asset to Fire and Rescue NSW.”
But when NSW went into lockdown, Amrita said she was looking at serving up coffee to an almost empty room.
“When COVID hit it went from 300 people to everybody working remotely from home,” she remembers. “It was gut wrenching, coming in and just seeing nobody.”
So Amrita had to shift gears. She began cooking in the kitchen herself to save money – and also went looking for other opportunities.
“I reached out to the different departments seeing if I could do some catering to keep us going,” she explains. “That worked out for us in a positive way because I got some catering for the Emergency Services Academy at Orchard Hills.”
The Fire and Rescue NSW crew have also been legends. Throughout the pandemic, Amrita says she’s been touched by the response of her customers, who often topped up her tip jar even when she waved their money away. She’s been determined to stay open for business to support them in return. Personally, Ken couldn’t imagine coming to work without the café.
“I spend every morning out in the ocean, having a swim before I come to work. So I come in here, have a coffee, it just really tops off my morning,” he says.
Young Fire and Rescue NSW apprentice Sam, who helps repair the firetrucks, also loves the vibe.
“Amrita really brightens the day,” he says, smiling. “When you’ve got someone who’s really positive and happy, it really brushes off on you as well.”
Thankfully, with the support from our Harris Café Recovery Project and the great crew at Fire and Rescue NSW, No.9 Station café is getting back into the swing of things.
“It means a lot to me,” she says. “It’s brought my spirits up and I know that there’s a future for me to continue with my business.”
We're stoked to be doing our little bit to help this community and grateful for the chance to lend a hand to hard-working Aussies like Amrita.