When Liam Thornycroft was a young student at Daylesford Secondary College, he would spend his time after school at his parent’s plant nursery, completing homework and waiting to be driven home by his Dad. With homework done, he would pop into the next door café, asking to help out. Little did he know that one day, he would be a co-owner of Daylesford’s iconic Cliffy’s Emporium.
A natural born entrepreneur, Liam moved through his teens learning about hospitality, first at Cliffy’s then at other local cafes and at the age of sixteen, became Marketing Manager at the equally iconic Convent Gallery, then Operations Manager, where he remained for the next ten years.
With partner Dan Condon, Liam moved to West Footscray, before the suburb became gentrified and planned to commute daily to Daylesford to continue working at The Convent. However, opportunity changed those plans when he and Dan discovered an advertisement for an old milk bar for sale at a very reasonable price. They could see the potential to convert the property into a café, not something that had been on their agenda. Move ahead two years or so and the café, now named Dumbo, is well established and catering to the local community in West Footscray.
In the meantime, Cliffy’s Emporium was facing some challenges and was placed on the market. Again, despite his childhood obsession with Cliffy’s, buying the place was also not his agenda. However, when two sale offers fell through, Liam couldn’t resist, so along with Dan, close friend Samantha Mackley and her husband Michael Chapman, a partnership was formed and Cliffy’s Emporium now had new owners.
The café is going through an exciting transition, with some improvements in the décor that don’t compromise the unique ambience of this much loved establishment and a new positive energy that is palpable when walking through the door. Already the menu has expanded and a new, exciting one is in development together with some new products a few surprises. The road ahead is looking sensational for this band of young, visionary operators and we can’t wait to see where it leads.