It came as a surprise to find out I was pregnant. I had always wanted to be an at-home mum – but was unable to sit still for too long so this was unlikely to happen.
One weekend while reading the property press we saw an advert for the vacant Opunake Dairy. Later in the week we went for a drive round the coast to have a look at the property. The set up seemed ideal – the business adjoined the house. I could work and look after the baby at the same time! The business had been shut down for 10 months, and in order to keep its resource consent we would have to be operating within 6 weeks.
The countdown was on - I gave 4 weeks’ notice at my current job and we moved to Opunake ten days prior to opening. Many late nights followed, filling out account forms and locating equipment.
Friends and family helped to clean, paint, wash walls, and collect equipment that we had purchased. Everything came together nicely and we opened on Monday 14th June 2010.
My sister Capree was also pregnant (we were both due on the same day) and we both worked the shop with the help of mum. In the beginning business was steady, so with growing bellies the work load was manageable. Kent was working for La Nuova at the time as a Sales Rep and finished at the beginning of November to take some of the pressure off us.
We were a traditional dairy – selling lollies, ice cream, and drinks along with chicken and chips and coffee to go. Kent decided that we would put a coffee machine in from the outset as he believed that there was a market for early morning coffee around the coast. And did the coffee drinkers come! We were a regular for those travelling north or south to work, tanker drivers who needed an extra pick up and contractors clocking up the big hours.
November 18th 2010 – I had just finished making the sandwiches for the shop and had a little niggle in my side. They were sporadic and irregular and as I had no problems at all during my pregnancy – I called mum mid morning to ask if I was having contractions? I hadn’t paid much attention during antenatal classes as I was generally so tired, and I hadn’t had time to follow any pregnancy apps as I had been too busy. As the day went on they got a bit longer. I had to finish some office work before Kent would take me into Hawera to see the doctor! We left home at 4pm and at 6.58pm that evening Soraya Kendall Wineera was born.
While I was in hospital (yes – I stayed in there for 6 nights!) Kent came one night to visit and to inform me that he had bought a trailer that he was going to convert into a coffee trailer! This was to be the beginning of ‘The Trailer’. ‘The Trailer’ was great – however not our core business, and we used it as a day to get out of the shop. Although still working, it was great to get out and see different customers and be involved with different events. The following year Kent worked with a trailer company and custom built another coffee trailer to better meet the need of the events that we were at.
Life was good – hard, but good. I would make sandwiches in the morning until Soraya woke, then tend to her, and then get back into the kitchen. When she was old enough to sit in the high chair – she would suck on pieces of lettuce as I finished off the sandwiches!
Narelle Cooper Wineera was born the following year on December 10th 2011. While life was frantic and sleep was minimal – there was always something to be done.
The girls were definitely shop girls! Any chance they got they would crawl through an open door and out into the shop.
In November 2012 we decided to put the business on the market to see if there was any interest. We had achieved the business goals that we had set for ourselves and if we were to continue we would need to invest more money in the business to take it to the next level. We were fortunate enough that within three weeks we had a buyer. Our last day at Opunake was the 8th February 2013. It was a bittersweet day. We were sad to say goodbye to the customers that had become such a big part of our lives – but at the same time excited for the new challenges that would await!