Tena Donohue and Keegan Wilson are keeping it simple at The Daily Grind, with a focus on making good coffee.
“We’re just trying to brew the best coffee in town here,” Mr Wilson said.
The couple opened their cafe, in the former RedRobin Coffee building in Oamaru’s North End, in mid-June.
They had always wanted to run their own business, but “just didn’t know what”, Miss Donohue said.
“I’ve grown up in businesses. My parents have owned three businesses, so I’ve always kind of wanted to be a business owner,” she said.
“It’s a nice introduction. We’re kind of getting our heads around being business owners, and how it all works.”
Owning a cafe seemed a natural fit for the pair, who both had hospitality experience – although “hospo” in Oamaru was more relaxed than they were used to.
“We’ve both worked in hospitality in Australia, and it’s such a high-pace environment.
“Everyone’s in a rush,” Miss Donohue said.
“Just the volume of people, as well, it’s completely different to here. It’s kind of hard to compare it.”
Mr Wilson manned the coffee machine, brewing Atomic Coffee, while Miss Donohue helped out when the cafe opened at 7am, before heading to her full-time job in customer service at Topflite.
“Eventually, we’re hoping to open in the weekends. We’ve opened one weekend, just after lockdown, it went really well . . . Level 2 has been quieter though.”
The possibility of an Alert Level 4 lockdown was not something they thought would happen when they bought the business, she said.
“We did take it into consideration when we were buying the place, but we didn’t really think we were going to have to go through all the Covid precautions.”
On the advice of other local cafe owners, they kept it simple, and people were understanding, Mr Wilson said.
“Everyone’s been good. All our customers are pretty cruisey.”
Future plans for the cafe were still being considered. It was a small space, and the premises were leased, so the pair were limited in their options.
They were also still considering what they would offer in the way of food.
Pie Day Friday, with fresh pies from Vanessa’s Cottage Cafe in Hampden, was proving popular.
“We pick up their pies fresh every Friday morning,” Miss Donohue said.
“You’ve got to offer something, but you can’t compete with a commercial baker. We’re trying to find something that’s going to work for us.”
Outside of the cafe and work, both were keen sports people. They played social netball and basketball, and Mr Wilson played Aussie rules football in Christchurch, as well as rugby.