Timaru businesses gear up for a big weekend by reopening

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Timaru Coffee Culture barista Carl Webber hones his coffee-making skills on Friday ahead of the business reopening on Saturday.

AIMAN AMERUL MUNER / Stuff

Timaru Coffee Culture barista Carl Webber hones his coffee-making skills on Friday ahead of the business reopening on Saturday.

Business looks promising for two Timaru restaurants, both of which are reopening new-look premises, one almost fully booked for its first weekend back, the other turning people away before the doors officially reopen.

Coffee Culture will reopen on Saturday morning after being closed for just over a month for store renovations, while Saikou, closed after a restaurant fire on May 29, will reopen on Friday evening.

Regular Coffee Culture customers hoping to get their coffee fix from the store on Friday after seeing the staff inside, had to wait until Saturday as the staff weren’t there to make coffee, but to clean up and prepare the store.

“Since about 7 a.m. [Friday] we told people ‘sorry, we open tomorrow’,” said Ambar Watts, manager of Coffee Culture Timaru.

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“We are here today [Friday] clean up and make sure everything is ready to reopen the store tomorrow, there’s a lot of cleaning to do, there’s so much dust.

The artwork at the newly renovated Timaru Coffee Culture talks about the coffee process and includes a drawing of Timaru's premises.

AIMAN AMERUL MUNER / Stuff

The artwork at the newly renovated Timaru Coffee Culture talks about the coffee process and includes a drawing of Timaru’s premises.

Coffee Culture has been operating from a cart outside the store since early June, to keep customers caffeinated and working hours.

“The cart was 100% worth it, we were well supported by the community,” Watts said.

“I kinda suspected we’d have people until we closed.”

Watts said staff were delighted to be back in the store after sub-zero morning temperatures in the cart.

New colors of sage green and gray have been chosen for Timaru Coffee Culture's renovations to brighten up the area.

AIMAN AMERUL MUNER / Stuff

New colors of sage green and gray have been chosen for Timaru Coffee Culture’s renovations to brighten up the area.

This is the first renovation since the cafe franchise opened in Timaru 15 years ago.

“People thought we had a renovation four years ago, but we had to close after the big hailstorm [in 2019] did a little bit of damage that we had to fix,” Watts said.

“It’s so much clearer and brighter here, the lighting is better and the feeling is much more open.”

On Friday, Timaru Coffee Culture barista Carl Webber tested the coffee machine.

AIMAN AMERUL MUNER / Stuff

On Friday, Timaru Coffee Culture barista Carl Webber tested the coffee machine.

“Timaru needed an upgrade, and he looks so good, we’re excited to open [on Saturday] and for our regulars to see the place,” Watts said.

“If this morning and the refusal of people shows us anything, it’s that we will be busy tomorrow, and we really hope so.

Saikou Bar co-owners Jacob Stonehouse and Ola Latu expect their first day of reopening to be busy.  (File photo)

AIMAN AMERUL MUNER / Stuff

Saikou Bar co-owners Jacob Stonehouse and Ola Latu expect their first day of reopening to be busy. (File photo)

Meanwhile, Saikou co-owner Jacob Stonehouse said he was expecting a busy weekend and was nearly sold out Friday morning.

The fire, which occurred while the restaurant was closed, was reportedly caused by burning oil, grease, cleaning products and dishcloths.

Three days before the fire, the restaurant launched a new menu, complete with new cocktails.

Stonehouse said he was delighted to have the restaurant back up and running with the new menu and thanked the community for their support.

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