Buying a cafe during these uncertain times is not a choice many would make. However, for owners of Jarks Cityside Hastings Bar and Restaurant Peter and Marianne Poszeluk, it was the perfect post-Covid solution.
"We didn't want to make any of our staff redundant so when this cafe (ex Fuse) just around the corner came up for sale we snapped it up," Marianne said.
"It's a scary time for everyone but we decided we would rather go hard than go home. Now we have staff working in the Cityside Cafe and the restaurant. It gives them a chance to try something new and it gives us the ability to retain our staff.
"From a practical point of view it's much cheaper for us to retain than retrain staff. We always hire on personality because that's something you can't change. We have an excellent team at the moment. They enjoy our customers as much as our customers enjoy them."
Peter and Marianne have been in the hospitality industry for 13 years. The opened Jarks Surfside in Waimarama where they traded for eight years before moving into Jarks Cityside Hastings where they have now been for six years.
"These days Surfside is only used for private functions," Marianne said.
"Jarks Cityside is our big baby and the business we focus on the most. We are so lucky to have such a loyal customer base.
"That's one of the reasons we have stayed in this industry for so long — the people are just amazing.
"We have a Friends of Jarks group and once or twice a year we invite them to our home or we all go out somewhere with staff and treat them to a night out. It's so nice for the staff to relax and mix with customers in a different setting."
Cityside Cafe at 1028 Heretaunga Street West, has a delicious range of cabinet food and also caters for functions or small business meetings.
"A cafe would be nothing without good coffee so we have hired a talented barista as well as a chef who is also a nutritionist.
"We have only been open for four weeks but have plans to move into keto and gluten free along with other dietary requirements. For now we are listening to our customers to see what they would like to have available to them.
"Most of our food is made on-site and we are very big on buying as much as we possibly can from local suppliers. We use Hohepa Cheese, Holly Bacon and Y'a Bon bread to name a few.
"There's a lovely carpeted lounge area next door where people can sit and relax."
Jarks is very much a family business which is run by "team effort".
"My husband is in the kitchen, my daughter and grandchildren also work with us and we count our staff as part of the family.
"We decided that we weren't going to look at the losses from Covid, instead we are focusing on being back operating and how lucky we are to be able to do that."
Cityside cafe is open Monday to Friday from 8am to 3pm.