Robin Stock, dubbed the “therapista” by customers, due to the double-shot of banter he dishes out with his coffee, has decided it’s time to move on.
The Oamaru barista, originally from London, will be putting his north end business RedRobin Coffee up for sale, and he is looking for someone full of beans to take over.
“Although it’s quite difficult to sell the place, because it has become a part of me in a lot of ways, and also a part of the local community, I do think that it’s time to draw a line under it and pass it on to somebody young and enthusiastic who can work seven days a week, you know, no children, that sort of thing.
“So I’m going to put it out there, kind of like a tender. I want everyone to say how much they’ve got, more or less. Tell me about themselves, and I’m going to decide – not who’s worthy – but I want it to be someone that, in five years’ time, I know they’ve worked really hard and they’ve got somewhere through it.”
Mr Stock started his own business in Oamaru about five years ago, while his daughter, Lily, was at Waitaki Girls’ High School. He initially opened at the Junction, then moved to the harbour, before landing and settling in at his current north end premises.
“I started my first cafe five years ago with 49 cents in my bank account and I crossed my fingers. I wanted to show my daughter initially that if you worked hard, you could do anything.”
Now that Lily was at university, Mr Stock had decided it was time to slow down a bit and do something less demanding. He had been open basically 52 weeks of the year.
He had been making coffee on and off since he was a teenager.
“When I left school I was very good at art, and I was very good at sports, and in those days that meant you were going to need another job, and that’s how I went into this. I ducked in and out of it.
“So I thought, if I’d have been given an opportunity when I was, sort of 25, to start a business, or take over a business with minimal costs – a going concern that has a certain reputation, I thought that would’ve been a great thing for me back then.”
There was a lot of pressure on teenagers to go to university when they left school, and “not everybody fits into that box”, he said.
This would be the perfect opportunity for somebody who had coffee-making skills and wanted to be their own boss.
He does expect some money for his business, but is being realistic. He wants someone to show they are serious about running the business “by having to scrape some money together”.
The building, coffee machine and grinder were all leased, and there were “minimal overheads”.
He would include anything in the sale that the people wanted, except anything with sentimental value. There was also room to expand at the back of the building.
“There’s a lot here for someone young .. I’m thinking a couple even.
“As long as they don’t have high wage expectations, because it’s not that. You do it because you’re owning a business, and that’s a huge boost.
“It is a pride thing really, to own your own business, that’s why I want to give someone that opportunity. To work hard and feel like, ‘this is mine’, you know? Which is a great feeling.”
He likened making coffees for people to providing a social service.