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Words: Kit Heathcock | Images: Supplied

Founders of Coco Safar, South African-born Wilhelm Liebenberg and French-Canadian Caroline Sirois, decided to recreate their experience of chic European cafe culture in a South African setting. Having first tested their concept in Claremont, they found a new home that fitted their vision in the recently revamped Artem building (previously the Adelphi Centre) on Sea Point’s Main Road. Wilhelm tells us more.

How did your business start?

The idea for Coco Safar was conceived in New York, designed in Toronto and launched in Cape Town. More than 10 years of conceptualising, testing and design have gone into all the elements of the cafe, from the beverages and the food products to every décor component. In keeping with our “Made in Cape Town” mantra, we’ve worked with a large group of world-class local craftsmen on our new store. We’ll continue to manufacture the majority of our custom-designed signature store elements and trade dress in the Western Cape and export these for our global outlets.

The Coco Safar experience is the purest form of daily escapism at the price of an espresso, which resonates with the well-travelled consumer as well as the aspiring traveller. We have strived to raise the bar and introduce the European cafe culture in an understated luxurious retro-chic setting with unrivalled quality at all levels.

Why did you choose this area for your business?

We recognised that Sea Point is a thriving community going through an invigorating renaissance, which will make it Cape Town’s hot spot and newest destination for innovative retail stores and eateries. The future significance of the area is undisputed. After an extended search for the right premises, in the right location, with ample space to house and set the stage for the theatrical culinary retail experience we wanted to deliver, we couldn’t be more thrilled with our new street-level location.

How did you find your premises?

Through the relaunch of the old Adelphi Centre as the Artem building – it was a no-brainer for Coco Safar.

Why are the premises ideally suited to your business?

With its luxury marble, refined Italian finishes, handcrafted brass balustrades, doorman and valet parking, it makes the perfect backdrop for Coco Safar’s haute couture offering.

Who are your neighbours?

The Artem Gallery.

What are the rental/sales prices like in this area?

For retail rental, it ranges between 180/m2 and 300/m2. On average, it’s around R250/m2. Sales prices are between R35,000/m2 and R45,000/m2.

How many people visit your business each day?

We had 4,000 people within the first two weeks and now we see a steady amount of traffic throughout the week.

Do you have any expansion plans?

We plan to expand globally with our next store launching in New York in the last quarter of 2018.

Do you operate online as well?

We are in the process of creating our online store.

What’s your most popular item?

Besides the delicious chocolate BonBons, the Bobotie (and the Bobotie croissant especially) is our biggest seller at this point.

For more information on Coco Safar, you can phone them on 021 433 1336 or visit the website


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