“Kindness is the language the deaf can hear and the blind can see”. – Mark Twain.

After a decade long vision, Judy Forbes took a chance and opened Once and Again Book Café in Adelaide. On a lazy Sunday afternoon I found myself in deep conversation with the self-described “chief cook and bottle washer” about her original vision, community spirit and kindness.

Her vision came from finding a similar peaceful ambience from visiting a book store, café and gift shop in St Kilda and wanting to combine the three.

Judy’s daughters have been her biggest supporters, all somehow involved with the business. Her eldest daughter completed business studies in high school and used the vision of a book café as a business plan while her youngest daughter, an interior designer helped with the décor.

The various health and wellness books aligning the wall, including her personal favourite by Stephen Covey are all from Judy’s personal collection or donated from others in the community. Adding to the peaceful aura of the space, you’ll also notice there are no crime, violence or horror novels on the shelves.

After launching five months ago with an intimate party, word quickly spread over their incorporation of the suspended coffee initiative.

The suspended coffee initiative is a way to inspire kindness and help those in need in a simple, effortless way; through a coffee purchased in advance and made with love. Founder John Sweeney explains the concept in his infamous TED Talk, saying the concept was simply the advance purchase of a cup of coffee for someone who needs it. Some of the movement’s incredible stories have gone viral with other stores following the same initiative.

“The first couple of people I offered to be the recipients of the coffee cried because they appreciated it so much. They then immediately paid it forward and it was a beautiful moment with hugs all round,” said Judy.

At the end of every month all remaining money is donated to a local charity. Last month, thanks to the generosity of customers, Once and Again donated $100 to the Cancer Council.

Once and Again Supports local businesses through their range of macramé, candles, skin care and framed prints. “I’m just trying to meet the needs of the community in some way,” said Judy while discussing the collection of gifts available to purchase in store

Having a conversation with someone as enthusiastic and kind-hearted as Judy, is something I will never forget and in an age where the news is dominated by negativity and disaster, the way Once and Again supports and inspires the community gives me faith for the future of our world. As a fellow lover of the movie Pay It Forward, I ended my time at Once and Again by purchasing a coffee for someone in the near future who Judy believed needed a reason to smile that day.


Words: Taylah Minchington
Photos: Devine Photography