Oamaru’s Shortblack Cafe has a new owner – 24-year-old Caidee Pennycook. She chats to Oamaru Mail reporter Gus Patterson about getting started in business.
Q Why did you decide to become a business owner?
My mum owned Shortblack before me and my dad before her. I had been working there off-and-on since 2014. I worked [at] Riverstone Kitchen for a year, but figured out I prefered cafes to restaurants. My partner and I both enjoy living in Oamaru, so thought if we are going to be living here for a while we may as well give it a go, especially while we are young and can put all our energy into it.
Q Is running a cafe something you always wanted to do?
Nope. If you asked me that in high school, I would have said “definitely not”. I was always lost in what I wanted to do and kept trying different things, but I now know this is exactly it.
Q Is it daunting being a business owner at such a young age?
A wee bit. I have been doing hospitality for five years now, but owning a cafe is completely different to just working in one. The business and money side of things is daunting for me – it is all really new and something I have not dealt with much. I have always just gone to work and then finished at 5pm, not having to worry about all the extra stuff, but not anymore.
Q There is a vibrant new colour scheme at Shortblack. Tell me about that . . .
There sure is. I guess I wanted something bright and fun that would give the place a refreshing look. We have had positive comments so far. But watch this space, there are more decor changes to come!
Q Do you have any business mentors or influences?
I guess all my friends, family and my partner have been influences. They have always told me to follow my passion, and that you never know unless you try.
Q You do most of the cooking/baking at Shortblack. How did you learn that?
I learned how to bake from both of my grandmothers. When I was younger, I was always in the kitchen helping them. I have a huge sweet tooth, so if there was any chance to make something delicious I would be there to help. I guess I taught myself how to cook, but I definitely enjoy baking more.
Q What is the biggest seller at Shortblack?
Either the salted caramel slice or the crispy chicken salad.
Q What are your interests outside of work?
I play social sport and enjoying catching up with friends for dinner and a drink or two. Also, spending time with my partner and our two dogs.
Q Are you taking a break over the summer?
We are open over Christmas/New Year, so I will be working most of the time. I have family coming from overseas, though, so I will catch up with them and go to Otematata in the New Year.