If Frank Underwood’s House of Cards exemplifies pure Shakespearean evil, the new café at our La Trobe is a polar opposite.
Former students at La Trobe University, Guy, and his business partner Dan have opened the third instalment to the House of Cards Espresso franchise, injecting life into the previously dull Thomas Cherry forecourt.
Unlike other cafes at La Trobe, House of Cards is part social enterprise and donates a portion of its profits towards various charities and organisations. Its donations are divided up into four different categories: health, environmental, cultural, and social.
“We encourage our customers to supply us with the organisations they would like to see. So, in that kind of regard, we see ourselves as a bit of a platform for people to [spread awareness],” says barista and manager Guy.
When purchasing something from House of Cards, instead of giving a name, customers are given a playing card. When the card is called you collect your order, as well as placing the playing card into one of four donation boxes. These are counted at the end of the day and by the end of the month the distribution of donations is determined by the percentage of cards in each box.
“At the moment the health organisation is Shake It Up, which raises money for research into Parkinson’s disease, environmental is the Australian Marine Conservation society, cultural is the Australian Children’s Book Society and social is Eat Up, which is an organisation that provides underprivileged kids at school meals for lunch.”
House of Cards donates a portion of their profits to these organisations. Guy mentioned his philosophy behind the social enterprise of the business:
“That’s another reason that we enjoy coming and doing this this at universities; we’re potentially talking to the next doctors, architects, artists and great thinkers and doing something as simple as just a small donation at the end of the month or tying something like that into your everyday, we can all build a kind of momentum there, and we could contribute to a greater good.”
Nestled on the way to the Agora from the Thomas Cherry bus stop, Guy mentioned how great the position is away from the noise of the Agora and how excited he is for warmer weather and more seating areas. It has already become a favourite meeting place for some students.
“It seems that having the café here has really activated this space. As it warms up and with a few more tables and chairs it is a great place to be. The outlook is really nice; it’s a nice quiet area, it’s away from the Agora so it’s got a little bit more of a relaxed feel.”
As they close in on their two-week birthday, head in for a coffee, one of their signature jaffles and sweet treats.
To submit an organisation or charity you would like to be featured for the monthly donation, check them out here: http://www.houseofcardsespresso.com/contact-us/.
Links to the current organisations:
Health: Muscular Dystrophy Australia
Environmental: For the Love of the Reef
Social: Buy a Bale
Words by Sean Carroll