A Downtown oasis
The name, Oas – oasis – was carefully chosen. It is meant to be just that, an oasis in the middle of town, which Rabea Holzfurtner and Shahram Soltani want their cafés to offer. The menu, too, is thoughtfully planned. By serving only vegan meals and vegan baked goods, they wish to contribute to a better planet.
They opened Oas in Kalmar in 2017, when Rabea was studying at the Linnaeus University. It was her visual communications studies that brought them to Kalmar in the first place, and before then, the couple had lived and worked in several places around the world. They also met while travelling. At that time, Rabea worked as a graphic designer, and Shahram was an engineer.
– Oas began as an enjoyable project, but it has been our passion for the past four years now. And of course, many things have changed along the way, says Rabea.
Is the entire menu vegan?
– We can give you cow milk for your coffee, but other than that, we have nothing but vegan food on our menu, meaning all our baked goods is vegan too. We make everything ourselves, and use only a few, healthy ingredients – no additives. Our pastries, for example, are entirely vegan, gluten-free, and contain no refined sugar.
Why does this feel important?
– It feels good to be able to offer a menu which is mainly plant-based. Considering pollution, climate change and health, it feels like an important step towards a greener future. But we are not perfect, there are many different ways to do good things for our planet. We focus on plant-based food, but sustainability is so much more.
Have the customers changed their attitudes toward vegan food since you opened?
– Yes, I think so. Today, quite a few people are happy to exchange an “ordinary” meal for a vegan one. Even those who don’t wish to maintain an entirely vegan diet are often willing to try other alternatives, both because it’s good for themselves, and for the planet. Oat-based milk is something that is becoming increasingly popular.
– I think that instagram has been very influential, both in teaching people more about plant-based food, and in making it more popular.
It feels good to be able to offer a menu which is mainly plant-based. It feels like an important step towards a greener future.
Today, Oas can be found in several cities. Tell me more about the development of your business.
– We started in Kalmar in 2017, and in Växjö in 2019. In 2020 we opened a franchise in Jönköping. Our next step will be taking Oas to Norrköping, and we are already well into the planning stages there.
– In Växjö, we have started roasting our own coffee, too. That was a major step for us, but we are happy to have taken it, it feels really good to know how our products are made. The roastery has its own webshop, so customers can buy the coffee we serve in our cafés.
How has the daily work changed for you and for Shahram?
– My work has changed quite a lot through the years. I still work in our cafés from time to time, to ensure things are running smoothly, but I spend much less time there than I did at the outset. Now, I work mainly with making our raw cakes, and I also manage our social media channels, as well as design and product development.
– Shahram steps in and works in our cafés if needed, but these days he works mostly with the Växjö coffee rostery. He keeps the business going in our cafés, while keeping an eye on the economy.
What about your future plans?
– If we find more people that match our concept, we are definitely thinking about branching into other cities. And we’re developing events to be hosted in our coffee roastery. Most importantly: we’re trying to have fun!
Rabea’s top Kalmar tips:
- Eat a vegan burger at Bastard Burgers. It’s a fun place, and you really feel like you are in New York.
- Shop forsecond hand clothing at Busfrö in Kalmar. I buy 90 percent of my clothes second hand and I love this shop!
- Nordsool is another one of my favourite places to shop for vintage clothes. They have a great selection of vintage stuff that’s a little more edgy.