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The History of Cafe Aroma on Kariboe . . .

By Wanda Robertson

Long before its birth as a Coffee Shop, Café Aroma on Kariboe was a shoe shop, a jewlery/gift shop and even a bank.

Located at the front entrance of Kariboe Arcade in the heart of the shopping precinct of Biloela this long established and extremely well patronised café has been serving locals and visitors alike since the early ‘80’s.

From its humble beginnings, the then “Number 10 Coffee Lounge” was owned and operated by Joan Lewis.  In those early days, Joan was renowned for her very popular Lemon Meringue Pie.

Although the exact dates are unknown, Joan sold the business to Di Priddle.  Di continued to build the business and had the contract to prepare and supply the meals for the Thangool – Brisbane flights back in the days when the contract was with Ansett Airways.

In the early 90’s, the business was sold again, this time purchased by Janelle Simpson.  Janelle introduced the outdoors, alfresco dining area to the café and as a result, aptly named it “The Outside Inn”.  The novelty of having an outside dining experience was well received by patrons.

Sandy Thompson purchased the business from Janelle in 1994.

Sandy was responsible for the installation of the spiral staircase and for utilising the upstairs area as extra dining area instead of storage.

Once again, the business was sold.  Janice Creed purchased and wanted to re-name the coffee shop “Number 10 Kariboe Street”.  This name change was not allowed, so instead, she called it “Biloela Coffee Shop”.

In 1996, the “Biloela Coffee Shop” underwent a change of ownership yet again, this time being purchased by Kristine Claire (now Lees).  Kristine changed the title of the business to “Kristine’s Coffee Shop”.  Kris operated it as an extremely successful business for the next 11 years until selling to the partnership of Juanita Zischke and Leonie Harris.

Very shortly after changing hands, Leonie left the partnership and Juanita continued in the business until selling to the Wilkie family in 2009.

Kim Stephens (nee Wilkie) has since operated “Café Aroma on Kariboe” from 2009 until deciding to sell the business by public auction on 21st April 2017.

The “Coffee Shop at the front of the Arcade” has long been an iconic address for socialising and simply, outstanding coffee.

We’re looking forward to a successful auction and being able to continue enjoying coffee, morning tea and lunches for many years to come.

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