It’s all GUJI – Yours Truly has #CoffeewithAlan Andrews in a LIVE interview at his latest venue, GUJI Boutique Coffee Bar – #CoffeewithColm Ep. 191

#CoffeewithColm #CoffeewithAlan #itsallGUJI

This week, I interviewed Alan Andrews, creator of The Old Barracks Coffee Roastery, Birdhill, Co. Tipp, LIVE, in his latest venue, GUJI Boutique Coffee in Nenagh Co. Tipp.

COB: Hi folks, welcome to another Coffee with Colm, coming LIVE from GUJI Boutique Coffee in Nenagh Co. Tipp, where I interview Alan Andrews, the brains behind it. Here’s the main man.

Alan: No brains here. I’m either crazy or stupid, can’t figure which.

COB: Alan’s one of these guys who comes up with an idea and then acts on it. I just wanted to ask you Alan, how old is your first creation, The Old Barracks Coffee Roastery in Birdhill?

To hear the fascinating interview more watch the six-minute video (recommended), listen to the six-minute podcast or read on below…


Alan: A year and a half as a retail, customer footfall based operation, nearly two years as a roastery, although I’m there four years – we didn’t operate for the first two years.

COB: Why did you decide to not take the Old Barracks Brand and export it, why did you decide to go GUJI? And apparently it’s all GUJI now…

Alan: It’s all GUJI now for sure.

Well, the Old Barracks is a destination for the Coffee Curious. That, in itself is a building and a brand with it’s own identity and that brand wouldn’t have transferred to a small retail unit on the street.

And also we needed to create something different – the Old Barracks has it’s own style, it’s own caché and GUJI needs to be something where there can be iterations, ie GUJI 1, 2, 3 and 4, you know, multiple GUJIs.

The Old Barracks is named after the building so that kept its name there and I have different reasons for branding, why I named that The Old Barracks but this has to be something cool and vibrant and a bit flamboyant, hence the pink!

COB: And it really is all those things – let me show you around (watch the video) This is day one of course, but it’s just fantastic. There’s all the Old Barracks retail product over there – but it’s just happenin’ – this wonderful place in Nenagh. What’s the address?

Alan: Quintin’s Way. It’s a pedestrian retail street off the main street with other retailers like Specsavers, Nameit, The Pantry Cafe – they’re really passionate about food over there, so I think we’ll complement them really well.

COB: I think so. Alan, if I may say, one of the the things I admire about you is you come up with an idea and then you act on it – you know, you’re not afraid to act.

Alan: Yeah, well this took us four months. 24th of June I looked at the unit and I went back to my PA, Maija, and said, OK, we need a name.

COB: Maija’s a legend by the way. Maija Krasna #legend.

Alan: So, I went back to her on the 24th and said OK we need a name for a coffee bar – I didn’t tell her for four weeks it was for ourselves, like it was a project we were doing. She thought it was for a client.

And that very week we were opening our Street Food Garden at The Old Barracks so she probably thought I was mad!

COB: The Street Food Garden at Birdill is an amazing place too! By the way we all think you’re mad, Alan. But mad works.

Alan: But, sure you’ve got to be a little bit crazy, right?

COB: So four months on?

Alan: Yeah, so four months. We got the lease on October 1st and then, within three weeks we are open! Even by our standards, that’s phenomenal.

But it’s just – I’m thinking about it this morning, I’m looking at the stools we bought, I’m looking at the design we did, at the contacts that I’ve built up over the years and we really could turn it around that quick.

I have really great people around me: Dave Corboy who did the joinery, Noel Breen who made the pieces, Katarina, Tanja, and the other Tania who do all of our interior design concept work p- the three dimensional computer generated graphics needed to help us get it over the line, you know, loads of people involved… It’s really cool – great people.

COB: Yeah, I’ve met many of those people that Alan talked about and one of the things I want to pick up on what he just said here, is that we all need a team around us, for sure. None of us can do this alone. We all need to attract a team.

Folks, if you attract a team around you, you can do anything. But then what you’ve got to do, which Alan does very well, is you’ve got to come up with an idea and act on it. But you’ve also got to treat the team in such a way that they want to get in behind you. The last thing you need when you enact something is people dragging you back. Alan has this amazing power to pull a team around him, wind them up, let them off and they create magic together. Alan, would you agree?

Alan: Well, I’ll tell you something, I was reading your post about your upcoming gig about ‘solopreneurs’

COB: Oh, The Lonelypreneur Summit? * (link below)

Alan: That’s it, The Lonelypreneur Summit. Yesterday I was in doing a talk in University of Limerick for 4th Years on the Entrepreneur Program and  the narrative from your post was in my mind. I was looking for a strap-line around Scaling for Growth and I came up with one – “From Loner to Leader”.

COB: Ok. Franchise fee applies methinks *laughs*

Alan: *laughs* (and back-pedals like the clappers) No, no, no, I only took inspiration from you! *laughs again*

COB: *laughs heartily*  Oh, I see, so it’s not plagiarism if it’s inspiration?

Alan: *still laughing* (having back-pedaled as far as he can go) So the strap-line was “From Loner to Leader”. It’s really interesting because I love engendering passion in people for what we do, of course, but obviously for themselves in terms of developing themselves to a level where they’re always progressing. So I’m really fortunate to get people who are both interested and enthusiastic about what we do, so it kind of just makes it easier.

It’s fun. We’ve a really strong team – we had a couple of f**k ups this morning but the team pulled in and it’s great, and it’s our first day. These things happen, so I don’t get too upset about them.

COB: Yeah, it’s great. Actually, the reason I came over today – two reasons actually – one it’s Alan’s first day, but primarily I came over because I saw a wonderful post he put out on LinkedIn, complimenting his PA, Maija Krasna, who is, eh, I won;t say the brains behind it,  but certainly is the wind beneath his wings in terms of creativity .

Alan: She is the looks. And the brawn. I’m just like, the go-for; I just do what I’m told, she just keeps hounding me.

COB: Well, it works. Folks, I just wanted to honour this man and his great work and his team, by putting out a #CoffeewithColm episode – indeed #CoffeewithAlan today.

When you’re in Nenagh or in Birhill, you’ve got to check out The Old Barracks Coffee Roastery in Birdhill, Co. Tipp and #itsallguji apparently at GUJI Boutique Coffee in Nenagh, Co. Tipp.

Well done Alan.

Keep the Faith.

You’re the best.

Alan: It’s all GUJI. Cheers. Keep it goin’


Thanks for thinking with me.

Yours truly.


Watch | Listen | Read | Think.

Connect with Alan here.

*Check out The Lonelypreneur Summit here.

Did you enjoy that? Fancy a sip of some of my recent “Coffee with Colm” Blog posts:

  • “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” Yoda – click here.
  • My Interview with Dr. Sinead Kane, Blind Lawyer, Adventurer, Consultant and International Speaker – click here
  • Pay Attention or Pay the Price – click here.


  • My famous ‘Man on the Train’ story – click here.

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