From Canberra Times 31 March 2013

They served 400,000 cups of coffee but after 15 years, Elaine and Brent Richter are moving out of Yarralumla and remembering the day the dream began on the back of an envelope.

The couple hosted more than 100 artistic exhibitions at the Yarralumla Gallery and The Oaks Brasserie in Weston Park, although the site was almost turned into something else.

”It could have been a depot for tourist buses or an old world gallery with ancient clothes,” said Mr Richter, who bid against these proposals in an unusual way.

”We responded (to the ACT government) with an expression of interest written on the back of a used envelope.

”We forgot about it and a few weeks later received a phone call saying it was one of the most creative tenders they had received and asked if we could elaborate.”

What the Richters had proposed was a cafe, gallery and pottery studio.

They thought if nobody bought their coffee they could spend their time making pots, according to Mr Richter.

”The pottery studio never got going,” he said.

The cafe is popular with families with young children and customers who visit the Yarralumla Nursery next door.

Years of alleged mismanagement and misuse of government property costing taxpayers millions of dollars was uncovered at the nursery last year, a fact which has disappointed many customers who have come through the cafe – which is the landlord but a separate entity – according to Mr Richter.

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