The Darby Story

In late 2010 we were walking down our beloved Darby St, Cooks Hill, and saw a cute little hole-in-the-wall with a 'For Lease' sign in the window. We stopped and looked in, taking in the magnitude of the 42 square metres it had to offer, and knew this was a spot we could bring to life.

"We knew this was a spot we could bring to life"

A few months later on the day of our ENGAGEMENT PARTY, (don't ever open a shop on the same day you're hosting a carnival-themed party with 200+ guests) we opened our little shop!

It was a wild ride. Chris was roasting coffee at Tuggerah, delivering to our wholesale accounts, working full-time at Darby, while I worked full-time & played weekend gigs, saving like a mad woman for our wedding. 

There were days where we couldn't keep up with the demand at Darby. There were also days when the only customer to walk through the door, wasn't actually a customer, but local legend, Bongo John, asking for a few bucks. 

About 18 months into our little project, we had actually gained a pretty regular customer base and even hired staff, (namely Pat Solvyns* who rescued us with his beautiful soul & knock-out coffee) The people of Cooks Hill had welcomed us into their wonderfully, quirky community with open arms! We were stoked.

Five years on, we still have rough spots, but our little space is a buzzing nook of coffee heads & kindhearted folk. These folk make it worthwhile. They make being in business easy. They are actually the reason we exist. 

"These folk make it worthwhile. They make being in business easy. They are actually the reason we exist."

One of the things I enjoy most about the local cafe scene is getting to know our regulars. Some of these coffee people emerge from their respective dwellings like clockwork, daily at 7 am, hardly saying a word. Some are rushing to work, picking up a 6-ounce flat on the run. Some are bi-weekly for a have-here and a chat. Some are more sporadic; they pop in every 2 months and casually buy 3 kgs worth of beans for home. Some are new friends, some are old friends. Some are fellow cafe owners who would like to drink a coffee they didn't have to make. Some aren't coffee drinkers at all! They just come in for a tea and a muffin. Some just come in for the peace & quiet and some just need change for the bus. 

So, there you have it. We really want to say 'thank you.' Without you, we wouldn't have made it. Without you being willing to try something new and venture into a mildly claustrophobic shoebox, we would've packed up shop. Without you actually telling people when you've had a good coffee, and telling us if it wasn't quite right, we couldn't have contributed to the coffee industry in Newcastle. We are able to laugh now, at the stupidly hard stuff we faced in the beginning, because of you.

Here's to more good coffee and more good chats. 

Here's to Newcastle. 

Much love


(PS Follow Pat Solvyns stellar coffee company "The Branches Coffee Roasters" Mullumbimby, NSW. )

Beth Gleeson, wife of Chris, one of the Glee Coffee Roasters brothers,  played a key part of developing Glee on Darby St. When she was not in the store she would be (and still is) found playing and singing magical tunes in the family band, The Soorleys. You can follow Beth on Instagram here.