The Illawarra has been a hub for musicians and creatives of all kinds. In more recent years however a number of closures of live music spaces have stiffened those wishing to perform and express themselves creatively.
This gap opened up a need for a new venue that could not only provide another spot for musicians but for artists of all types.
With the recent gentrification shift of Port Kembla, previously neglected pieces of property have been snapped up to create new opportunities and take advantage of the property boost in the area. One of these was a long closed and neglected service station.
With the downsizing of venues and the boost of new property opportunities you could say that the planets had aligned.
Servo Food Truck Bar is the collaboration of 12 dedicated individuals in the Illawarra’s creative space. Together they were able to bring their unique skills to the table and make a safe social and performance space for people of all ages and all identities.
I caught up with part owner Peter Langstaff, a long standing identity in local music as a singer/songwriter and known for his time as a radio host at Vox FM Illawarra. Peter and I spoke about the birth of the idea, the steps that progressed from an initial observation to a concept put into action, some early challenges at launch and the successes they have had to date.
Servo Food Truck Bar is another demonstration of what the people of the Illawarra are capable of. The area has nurtured many great artists and will no doubt continue to do so.
What did you get out of this episode? Here’s what I learnt;
1. Know what your customers want, because you are one. – Being live music lovers, Peter and the other owners already knew what they wanted in a live venue from their own personal experiences. They trusted their instincts and expectations to build the concept which they believe the wider community will also enjoy. Remember that we are all customers and often we are creating a business because we feel passionately about what we are selling, so remember to place yourself in the customer’s shoes and to think about what you would want and what would excite you as a customer. Sounds simple, but you’ll be amazed at how many people lose that perspective.
2. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure – Think about that rundown building or land that’s being left unused. Is your idea what a property owner is looking for? Of course there are many assessments you will have to make before taking on a lease and there are always risks involved (you should always ask yourself the question – why is no one else using this space), however there could simply be many overlooked opportunities that are within easy grasp which could include a very reasonable agreement between you and the owner.
3. Lean on your expertise. Contribute in your own way. – Peters experience came into play at launch of the Servo Food Truck Bar. His gig and administration experience ensured that the standard was set when everything was in full operation. Don’t get clouded in the areas that you have no expertise or capacity in. You can’t be great at or be available for everything. Focus on your strengths and outsource/bring in others who can help in the areas that you may not be able to contribute to at your expected standard.
4. Can’t do it alone? Collaborate with others! – While this might be an extreme example, Peter is one of 12 partners who are involved with the Servo Food Truck Bar. By sharing the concept, the goal and dream becomes more attainable rather than it being just a ‘wouldn’t that be nice’ thought that progresses no further. Could you bring in another like minded or multiple like minded people to lend unique skills and effort to build on and accelerate a business idea that you’re passionate about.
Location – 6-8 Wentworth St, Port Kembla NSW 2505