WHEN Emily Crispin saw how quickly towns could be brought to their knees in the Summer Bushfire Crisis, it changed her view of the world forever.
On their biggest day that January in 2020 they packed almost 800 lunches.
"I was getting escorted up to Corryong in the bakery van to deliver meals to the people caught up in the fires," she said.
"People were blessing us; I remember one lady hadn't eaten a proper meal in three days and she was just so grateful.
"You don't expect to experience that kind of thing in Australia.
"It changed my view of the world and the importance of community."
With that still in mind, Ms Crispin opened a new cafe and pantry store in the heart of Tallangatta on Friday morning.
Friday at Fika is located in premises previously occupied by Teddy's Joint.
Ms Crispin said she wanted Fika to be a place of refuge for residents and visitors alike.
"I want people to be able to sit back and relax, just to be able to stop for a minute," Ms Crispin said.
"We're a breakfast cafe opening Friday to Sunday.
"We'll offer special waffles every weekend; today we had chocolate honeycomb waffles.
"We have monster shakes for kids, fruit muesli bowls, pancakes and a breakfast sandwich with beautiful double-smoked ham."
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Ms Crispin said she would also offer a range of condiments, preserves and other pantry staples.
"We're also a pantry too, stocking local everything; we stock 100 per cent Australian-made products or even better still locally-made products," she said.
A Tallangatta-based ambulance community officer during the week, Ms Crispin will soon complete her nursing studies through Wodonga TAFE.
She recently did a six-week nursing placement at Benalla, all the while fitting out her cafe.
"When the premises came up I couldn't let the opportunity go," Ms Crispin said.
"I've fully redone inside; Dad built the frame for my giant Fika sign and I meshed the greenery into it.
"I'm glad to be finally open; I'm hoping to make it a special place for Tallangatta and there will be some pretty cool things happening in the future."
The cafe, which uses Coffee Chakra beans, has seating out the front and indoors as well as a courtyard at the back of the premises.
Friday at Fika, which is located at 85 Towong Street, will operate Friday, 7am to 1pm, Saturday, 8am to 1pm, and Sunday, 8.30am to 1pm.
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