A BIG idea from little Mount Hawthorn has spread across the world, with Pippa Candido’s The Little Bar Cart branching out to Rhode Island, Vancouver and Connecticut.
Four years ago Ms Candido came up with the idea of hiring out an old-timey wagon decked out as a bar, with top-notch service staff for weddings, parties and festivals.
“I wanted to find a little part-time job for myself while I was a stay-at-home mum, and I thought there was a gap in the market for a champagne service after a [wedding] ceremony so guests had something to do while the photos were taken,” Ms Candido tells us.
“I came up with this Champagne Cart idea — that was the original name. Then the Champagne Society contacted us.”
The French organisation has lawyers at the ready to ensure the name is only used to describe sparkling wine from the Champagne region.
But even in the earliest days of operation the business was expanding beyond just sparkling wine as local drinkers sought other tipples, so a name change to The Little Bar Cart suited on both fronts.
“They did us a favour, because it gave us a push to do that anyway, so it was perfect timing,” Ms Candido says.
The carts were built locally: “I was getting quotes from all over the world: China, Indonesia, Thailand, and I just couldn’t guarantee the quality of the build, so I had a family friend who was in the industry who built the first one. In the first week of launch we were so busy we had to order a second cart.”
Word spread through hospitality circles and enquiries started coming in from industry folk in other states wanting to license their own bar carts, starting with a Melbourne branch in 2017, then Brisbane and now internationally.
A licensee has started up a branch serving the Rhode Island and Connecticut area, and now it’s spreading north to Canada.
Earlier this year one of the Little Bar Carts was on a boat to North America for a big hospitality convention.
“That was meant to happen in May this year,” Ms Candido says. “Then Covid happened, and it was all cancelled.
“The bar cart was already on the boat, and we’d been talking to some potential licensees in Vancouver. We rerouted the cart and sent it up to Vancouver,” and it’s now ready to launch as soon as lockdown’s over.
On November 26, The Little Bar Cart took out the top Innovation Award at the Belmont & WA Small Business Awards.
by DAVID BELL