Baci Lounge opens in Brisbane
Baci Lounge opens in Brisbane
Baci Lounge, a unique NZ retail brand and a model of social entrepreneurship, launched its first Australian store (283 Given Terrace, Paddington, Brisbane) at a function in Brisbane on Friday, the 12th of December.
Baci Lounge is the brainchild of Sharad P Paul who is a doctor, skin surgeon, published writer of fiction and a Senior Lecturer at the Universities of Auckland and Queensland.
Baci Lounge launched its Newmarket, Auckland store in New Zealand in 2006. In 2007 and 2008, it was voted ‘Best Café’ by the influential Metro magazine as well as being adjudged a winner in the 2008 NZRA TOP SHOP AWARDS. It was also nominated for a retail architecture award.
Baci Lounge puts profits into several literacy initiatives. One is a mentoring programme where Dr. Paul visits lower socioeconomic schools and speaks to children emphasizing the old fashioned values of literacy, hard work and persistence – qualities he believes are essential to compete in the modern world. Primary school students at a hundred Decile 1 and 2 schools entered the BACI Lounge Annual Short Story Competition this year, which saw the winning school, Glenavon Primary School rewarded with $5000 worth of library books for their students. Sharad, is currently seeking advice from Australian educational authorities so that new literacy programmes in Brisbane can be tailored to local needs.
“Why Brisbane? Because I had a vision of a little child playing with blocks when I was thinking about our literacy programmes. The good thing about a dream is that you can be irrational about it. So Baci Lounge is expanding alphabetically: A-Auckland, B-Brisbane etc.”
When asked about where ‘C’ is going to be, Sharad laughs, “I’m not telling you my business plan,” he says. But you can be sure that wherever Baci Lounge goes, it will support local literacy programmes. Perhaps ‘C’ might end up being Chennai in India, where Sharad’s first novel Cool Cut (Picador) is set. Both the ABC and TV ONE ran news segments about Baci Lounge and its literacy work recently.
Due to its intimate club lounge-like feel with chandeliers and lounge chairs, Baci Lounge was featured as a destination bookstore/café in all international editions of TIME magazine this year.
At the launch in Brisbane, Sharad spoke about his latest novel, where the protagonist is a salmon. When asked why he’d write a novel about salmon, he says, “Because salmon have the courage to swim against the tide and leap waterfalls. Amidst all the retail doom and gloom, that is what we are doing in expanding internationally. In times of financial stress, the best investment is in knowledge. And in doing so, you might in turn help a little child with the gift of knowledge. I guess we are a feel-good story.”
We say ‘Amen’ to that.
As well as a full range of quality fiction and non fiction books from local publishers and book distributors, Baci lounges generally stock a range of small English and American press titles not normally available in Australasian bookshops. Baci lounges are perfect for that lunch or supper or glass of wine or an inspiring browse through a great collection of new books while sampling fare (and great coffee) from the café. And in the tradition of being the local independent bookstore, Baci Lounges in Auckland and Brisbane are open 7 days a week. Perfect for some last- minute Christmas shopping!