It is with heavy hearts that we have decided to close our cafe permanently. Our beloved cafe/grocery store in Ferrymead will no longer be open, including this weekend coming.
If you are a regular customer and have come in the last couple of months, you’ll be aware of the position we have been in, regarding the sale of our cafe and our increasing demands for production on our factory side of the business.
Earlier this year, we had to weigh up the decision to either close our cafe and move our factory to another facility, or sell the cafe at its current location. We have been juggling the cafe with our manufacturing business for 2 years now and have outgrown the current premises we are in.
We’re going to be moving our Berkano Foods Manufacturing Company to a much larger location. The main issue was that we no longer had the time nor resources to continue the cafe by ourselves, and we also didn’t want to disappoint our customers by closing it. So we thought the best option would be to sell the cafe. Over the last few months we have been organizing the sale, and in these last two weeks we had multiple offers on the table from a number of lovely couples wanting to start their new business venture.
Everything was moving ahead perfectly, but in the last two weeks of negotiation, we had been caught in a limbo phase with not really knowing what was happening due to our landlord. Everything was fine until at the last minute they decided they didn’t want to renew the lease at Ferry Road with the proposed new owners and/or ourselves. Wasting not only our time, but the potential buyer's time and the real estate company. It got to the point where the landlord decided not to talk to us anymore, which forced our lawyers to get involved.
The sad thing about this whole situation is that when we asked the landlord’s lawyer why they didn’t want to renew the lease, they said there was no reason, and that that’s within the landlord's rights to refuse to renew with a “just because I can” mentality, even though we had right to renewal on our lease and the landlord was ok with the sale all up until that point. Earlier this year they wanted us to sign on for another 3 years, so there was no issue whatsoever, the only reason they decided to, at last minute, refuse to renew the lease for the new tenants, is because they can and they are exercising their power over the situation. Which is very frustrating and sad, but ultimately it’s left us in a really hard situation.
We didn’t want to leave people not knowing why, or possibly being frustrated at us, we were not anticipating closing the cafe, the new owners would have changed over in the coming months and everything would have run the same. Now that we have been forced out of this premises with such little notice, we have to not only prepare to move all of our factory equipment to another location and fit that location out and bring it up to food standards, we now also have to rip this entire place out and return it to how it originally was.
This has left us with the only option we have, the closure of the cafe. We cannot possibly move premises, and return this place back to a blank canvas if we continue to open the cafe, and work 7 days a week.
We also didn’t want to leave everyone not knowing the situation, we are a transparent company and only want what’s best for everyone in this situation. On the bright side, it means we can focus on our manufacturing, more plant based products online & in retail, it means we can deliver plant-based products across New Zealand, and continue with our core mission - “making plant-based food more accessible and affordable”.
Berkano Foods will remain the same, still fulfilling online orders Monday through Friday, and offering pick-ups until we move.
There is an opportunity for someone to move the cafe with all its assets, online grocery service, everything etc to a new location. And if anyone is interested give us a message and we can pass you on to our broker.
Thank you so much for supporting our little cafe over the years, I have been brought to tears numerous times over this whole situation, thinking about not seeing everyone again - it’s been very disheartening. We just have to remain positive and keep moving forward. Again thank you for being supportive and understanding, much love, from Britteny, Nick and all the staff that have served you over the years.
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