The Caff at 235 Thomas St will close its doors on Saturday, with owners Bing and Tricia Watson having served the community with breakfasts, lunches, coffees, and cakes, for the last four years.
Taking over the space and opening on December 12, 2019, and having unsuccessfully found a buyer in the more than 12 months since putting a call out, Bing told the Barrier Truth that “it’s come to the stage where we need to do something different in our life”.
“We just want to start spending some time with the family. We’re not getting any younger,” Mr Watson said.
“The early starts, the late finishes to get everything ready for the following day… we didn’t want to renew [our lease] for another four years so we thought ‘no, we’ve done our time’.
“We’ve been searching for a new buyer for about a year. We’ve had a few people that are interested but has never come to the part where there was a sale. When it comes to the stage where you’re just about burned out and you’ve had it, that’s [the] decision we made.”
Having no experience in hospitality prior to purchasing the space, Mr Watson admits it was a pretty taxing job. Coupled with the effects of COVID just months after opening, he says it had its challenges which he, Tricia, and the hard-working staff had to work through to come out on the other side.
“It’s probably something that I’d never do again. Hospitality is one of the hardest things,” he said.
“It’s a funny thing when you get into hospitality. You don’t realise the amount of people that do patronoise you. The amount of people we’ve met since being in here, we’ve met a lot of people, hospital people mainly, and they’ve been really good. We met a huge amount of people that came in because of our good coffee and good food.
“We all joke and laugh with our mates, and they could hear us laughing over the road. That’s part of hospitality. I’ve taken food over to the hospital [and] when Covid was going, we were dropping coffee off at people’s houses. You joke and laugh and do that little bit extra.”
With strong support community-wide but mostly from the hospital across the road, the one thing the pair will miss is the customers.
“The customers have been good to us, they really have. The hospital and the general public, they’ve patronised us quite well,” Mr Watson said.
“The best thing is the meeting of a lot of people. We’ve laughed a lot in here. It’s [been] entertaining. I’d say that would be the best time, our customers. They’re funny, they joke and laugh and carry on. When I leave anytime, [I’m] full of tears laughing.”
The Caff’s final day of trading is tomorrow – Saturday, November 11 – from 8am-12pm.
PICTURE: JASON IRVINE