Will's Blog

Mates Through the Years – Hearing From our Cafe Partners

on Mar 21, 2024

Over the past year, Will & Co has been celebrating 10 years, a milestone that wouldn’t be possible without our cafe partners – the legends that brew our coffee for all to enjoy. Whether they’ve been with us since the beginning or joined the Will & Co family more recently, they’re all a huge part of our journey. Though each cafe partner is unique in their own way, we all have some big things in common: passion for the community and our customers, a love of bringing people together and an appreciation of damn fine specialty coffee. 

We took this celebratory milestone as a chance to speak with some of our longtime customers about the importance of mateship and community, other memorable moments and why they chose to partner with Will & Co. 

Where It All Started

Stoneground Bakery, located in Hunters Hill, New South Wales, is one of our OG partners who has been with us for nine years – and counting. It’s a place you’ll find yourself wanting to return time and time again to make your way through all the incredible pastries, breads, quiches and more, made fresh in-house. With a team that’s more like family, you’ll quickly feel right at home as soon as you walk through their doors. It’s safe to say we’re grateful to be part of the special community that Stoneground has built. 

Owner and director Melina Frelingos says she decided to partner with Will & Co for a few reasons. She liked that we were new with a fresh approach to the market and shared the same passion for community and excellent coffee. We’re chuffed to say she liked our “very appealing design and concept,” too. “The coffee was a hit with us, and we have not looked elsewhere since,” she says. “We have a great relationship with the team; we feel supported and love working with them.” 

A couple of years later we entered the Queensland coffee scene, when Bruce Robson – who owns the rustic, casual and homely Iron & Resin Garage (aka “grandad’s shed”) – drove all the way from the Gold Coast to Sydney just to taste Will & Co. “One cup and I was hooked,” he says. “But even more importantly, after one simple phone call, the Will & Co team were right behind us.” 

We love partnering with unique businesses, and Iron & Resin is as unique as it gets. On the surface, they’re a retail business, selling motorcycle gear and spare parts, but dig a little deeper and you’ll quickly learn that what they really are is a community of folks connected through motor bikes. A motorcycle garage isn’t necessarily where you’d expect to find specialty coffee, but the formula works a treat; riders love to stop and chat. “Coffee, burgers, beers and bikes all in one place? There was never any question,” says Bruce, who’s a devout double shot latte drinker. 

From East Coast to West Coast 

Introducing the brand to Western Australia was a super proud moment for Will & Co and a goal we were keen to kick from the beginning. Though we swim and surf in a different ocean, the laid-back coastal vibes are a clear connection point. So, when the opportunity came to partner with Mataya Eatery – the heartbeat of coffee and food creativity in Mandurah – we were very keen to get stuck in. They were one of our first customers in WA, having been with us since they opened in 2017, and like us, Mataya is all about community connection. 

“We aim to be the place where every guest feels like a cherished friend, where people can laugh out loud and where memories are woven into our space,” says owner and visionary Natalie Adams, whose innovative mind continues to inspire us. 

“We were drawn to Will & Co due to their chilled vibes but progressive ideas,” says Natalie. “Their coffee is incredible – it comes from a smaller, boutique brand – and we are all about being a little different at Mataya. We wanted something unique to WA, where people would not only fall in love with the taste but also ask, ‘Where does this come from?’ We get that reaction daily, and it's been a wonderful journey with Will & Co.” 


Cheers, Mates 

You’ll hear us say time and time again that we don’t just supply coffee, we build partnerships – and for good reason. Not only does this make the day-to-day work more enjoyable, but it produces better results for everyone involved. We put a lot of blood, sweat and caffeine into these relationships, so it means the world when that love is reciprocated. 

“Will & Co’s support was critical for us to make this strange place work, and it’s still going strong. Nothing is a hassle, the service and support is consistent and top notch – we could not have picked a better partner,” says Bruce from Iron & Resin when asked why he chose to partner with Will & Co. Right back at you, Bruce. 

Nat of Mataya generously echoed that sentiment: “Will & Co has been instrumental in supporting our innovations over the years,” she said. “This collaboration has added layers to our coffee experience and connection with the community.” 

Across seven years of working with Mataya, they’ve expanded their offering with mobile coffee carts, opened a new event space called Nabo, hosted latte art competitions, stocked (and sold masses of) Will & Co merch, and continue to run numerous workshops to teach the community all about specialty coffee. And they have a bunch more up their sleeves for 2024 – talk about legends. None of this would be possible without mateship being the core of our partnerships. 

While innovation is important, consistency is king – especially when it comes to coffee. Melina highlights consistency as being key to Stoneground Bakery’s success. “We’ve stayed with Will & Co and provided our customers with the same consistent taste and quality since the beginning,” she says. “Sure, we’ve experimented with specials and other new things, but at the end of the day, our customers love that we deliver the same quality every day.” 

The Best Part – Building Relationships 

We love all our mates equally, but Will & Co on George is pretty special to us for obvious reasons. Our HQ Tasting Bar may be the face of Will & Co, but the hole-in-the-wall espresso bar on George Street in Sydney’s CBD was one of our original flagships and has a special place in our hearts. We’re proud to offer city workers a slice of chilled, coastal lifestyle in their hectic Monday-Friday. 

Mark Wilkie has been there from the beginning – first as head barista when Will & Co on George was just a pop-up, now as the manager of the Will & Co venue – and it’s been a wild, wonderful ride. 

“I would say the best experience we have had is building our customer base and developing relationships with them. Many of them have been with us since we first opened, some six years ago. It’s the best seeing them day-in and day-out,” says Mark. 

Mark perfectly sums up what Will & Co is all about: building strong relationships, brewing consistent, incredible coffee, and providing customer service that keeps people coming back again and again. We wouldn’t be who we are without our customers and look forward to many more years of brewing damn fine specialty coffee together. 

Now that’s mateship.