At our recent Constellation Meeting of the Stars in mid-October, Aaron Riding, owner and operator of Stellarossa Yarrabilba, inspired the room with his Key Note presentation of how he engages with and supports his local community.

Aaron has made it a key pillar of his business operation to contribute to his local community as much as possible, by getting involved in any way he can.

He started it all by joining his local Chamber of Commerce, and says “It’s one of the best decisions I’ve made for the business. It’s given me access to events, functions and breakfasts, and even free advertising in the local paper.”

Yarrabilba is a fast-growing, family focused region. Aaron explained, “we have around 3,000 houses currently, with a total of 14,000 planned. With the median age under 30, my main focus is to make sure we engage with that growing community for the long term.”

The engagement with the community varies depending on the type of event. “I’ve hosted several business seminars and events in-store, and from these I’ve picked up many regular customers.”

Aaron said another significant event was a fundraiser for Project Pink (a key Breast Cancer charity initiative proudly supported by Stellarossa). “We did a BBQ in front of Coles, which is very close to us, and we handed out 2 for 1 coffee cards. It was really surprising how many people didn’t even know we were right there next door! In a business sense, this really showed the value of a local engagement focus.”

Aaron and his team get involved in many other local community events. They’re featured at the monthly ‘Mingle Markets’ with profits going to charity, and are silver partners for the local Christmas Carols which will attract around 10,000 people as well.

An interesting initiative he undertakes is the Cereal for Coffee, where customers come in and donate a box of cereal in return for a free coffee so that under-privileged kids can have a decent breakfast before they head off to school.

“Yes, we give a lot of coffee away, but we also find that people tend to buy more by adding food to the order as well. So it’s a win-win.” Aaron said.

As a true measure of his impact and commitment to his community, Aaron currently has a Facebook following of 1,200+ for his café, out of the 12,000 residents in the community. This equates to a large portion of the households in the area being engaged with his business, which is a great ongoing communication and marketing tool.

Aaron sums up the impact he and his team feel they’re having in his community by saying, “People are telling us that they do see how engaged with the community we are, and they’re telling us to keep it up. So we must be doing something right!”