Dirk and Lauren Molsen recently combined their two passions, classic cars and great food, to open a hip new venue for sports car enthusiasts and foodies, Club9 and Dapper Coffee Co. A long bar counter serving coffee, breakfast and light lunches opens onto the Bree Street pavement, revealing tantalising glimpses of the showroom full of vintage Porsches and classic Mercedes-Benzes.
YN: How did your business start?
Dirk: I have always been a classic car nut. As my collection grew over the years I was running out of storage space. I also realised that I was hardly using the cars as they were scattered all over Cape Town. Every time I wanted to drive one it became a real mission, be it flat battery, flat tyres, or simply just gaining access to where the car was stored. My dream was to have my own place big enough to keep all under one roof. One day I stumbled across the premises which are Club9 today.
YN: Why did you choose this area to set up shop?
Dirk: The showroom was as central as a showroom could be in the CBD, and its long frontage onto Bree Street was an added bonus.
YN: How did you find your premises?
Dirk: I drove to view the demolition of the Tulip Hotel and stopped right outside the showroom which had a “to let” sign in its window.
YN: Why are the premises ideally suited to your business?
Dirk: They are very central in the CBD, and the restaurant is in trendy Bree Street and part of the First Thursdays map.
YN: Who are your neighbours?
Dirk: We are across the road from Youngblood art gallery, and a stone’s throw from Chefs Warehouse and La Parada. Other near neighbours are Bouchon Wine Bar & Bistro and Inhouse Brand Architects. We’ll have the new Tsogo Sun International Hotel right opposite us from September 2017.
YN: What are the shop rental/sales prices like in this area?
Dirk: We struck it lucky as the landlord gave us the premises at a very fair rate.
YN: What is your shop footprint?
Dirk: Being a restaurant, a showroom and a car-care clinic, we are naturally getting quite some foot traffic every day. We estimate approximately 300 people come and go during an average day.
YN: Do you have any expansion plans?
YN: Do you operate online as well?
Dirk: Yes, but most of our business comes from the showroom floor.
YN: What’s your most popular item?
Dirk: Our great food and the Porsches.
021 422 2994
Words: Kit Heathcock