Meet Maree and John at Solid Ground

It doesn’t take much to warm to Maree and John Ratcliffe of Solid Ground Coffee, there’s something about the way they make you feel in their company. Both live and breathe all things coffee, so much so, they’ve devoted much of their working life, 19 years in fact, to running cafes.  

Maree describes the progression to coffee distribution as only natural, having been so entrenched in the industry for many years. “We love the industry! We wanted to offer a quality, ethically sourced product that we felt would be loved by the Sunny Coast community,” Maree explains. “Solid Ground to us means building something strong, resilient and significant that can stand the test of time.” 

Solid Ground Coffee has an extensive range of products to meet the needs of every coffee connoisseur, including their Hero Blend coffee beans, Hulk Blend coffee beans, cold brew, chai, hot chocolate, syrups, teas and cups and accessories. There’s a strong sense of community connection associated with Solid Ground, with much of the business built on supporting locals and fostering community involvement. 

“Our very famous Hero Blend is named after someone we believe is an everyday hero, Chappy Dave Larkin. We started supporting him and the Buderim Mountain State School Chaplaincy program over 13 years ago. Chappy Dave is someone whose mission in life is to look after other people and treat them as they deserve to be treated,” says Maree. 

It was through this relationship that Maree and John became connected with SunnyKids. “Whenever Chappy was in a situation where he could not assist a family in an acute crisis, he was able to contact SunnyKids and gain immediate assistance. We got a better understanding of the critical support that SunnyKids provides and just how vulnerable some of the children and their families are during times of hardship.” 

Giving back to the community is at the very heart of Solid Ground, having been SunnyKids P100 members for nearly 10 years and donating over $60,000 to our cause. “Knowing that with every kilogram of coffee we roast, $1 goes directly to SunnyKids to support the incredible work they do for families on the Sunny Coast, is special to us,” Maree adds. 

“A highlight for us is getting to know the SunnyKids team and understanding the depth of what they do on a daily basis to support local families. The respect we have for the team is huge, knowing that we can assist in some way but also appreciating that neither John nor I have the skills to do the work the SunnyKids team do. Seeing the P100 Village grow and seeing the cross section of the community getting involved is encouraging. To us this means the message is getting to more people, so more of the community are made aware of the huge need.” 

Giving back to the community in which they live is why many of our P100 members join SunnyKids. They also find during our quarterly events they get to meet new people and connect with others with similar community interests at heart.  

“We really enjoy meeting like-minded people and sharing stories of why they have become involved with SunnyKids. We like being able to support other businesses within the community as well, knowing that this not only assists them but in turn also helps SunnyKids,” Maree explains. 

When John and Maree aren’t busy grinding coffee or walking their two rescue dogs, you’ll find them preparing meals at Fuel Cafe in Maroochydore for the families at our SunnyKids refuge. This initiative is a joint project with Fuel business partner Ella, Maree’s parents and Solid Ground. Maree confesses she loves food and feeding people, especially people who need it.  

“When I had a tough time after the birth of our first son, I experienced emotions and lows that I had never experienced before. I can remember how special it was when a nutritious meal was delivered to our home, knowing if I did not feel well, I didn’t have to cook that night and that we would all eat well. I just felt if I could help in this way I would love to do it, it is so neat hearing from Sarah and the families with their feedback on the food each week. My parents have been a huge influence too, they have always supported families in a multitude of ways and are also financially supporting this project with the refuge,” Maree says. 

When I asked Maree why she felt it was important to give back, she assured me that it comes down to perspective. “I think the main thing is understanding just how fortunate we are to have been raised in a stable household. Every home has its day-to-day challenges, but no family should have to deal with some of the major issues that many of the children face at SunnyKids. Knowing that a little support can go a long way, especially if it is on a continual basis, is really important. If more individuals and businesses did their bit, so many people would be positively impacted.” 

Compassion is at the very heart of Solid Ground with an unwavering commitment to better the Sunshine Coast for all that live here. And just as their Hero Blend suggests, Maree and John have made it their mission to look after those in our community who need an extra hand. Displaying selfless concern for the wellbeing of others and a great awareness of the issues faced by those impacted by adversity. We’re so extremely thankful for the ongoing support of Solid Ground and the positive impact their commitment and generosity has had on the lives of those in our care. 

Join our P100 Village today




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