GOLOCAL

Sun is streaming inside, the smell of coffee and flowers tease the nostrils, staff are busy, customers are happy.

I'm inside Coffee and Flowers, in Maclean St, Paraparaumu Beach, which is a small shop getting back on its feet after the Covid-19 crisis.

Manager Jackie Gardner is taking coffee orders, barista Billie Wilkinson is cranking out the coffees, and florist Rowan Cotterill is arranging a bunch of flowers.

Spirits are high.

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There's also a sense of relief that the business is on the rebound from the crisis which brought the country to a shuddering halt.

They had opened eight weeks before lockdown and were doing well.

"And then lockdown four happened and we shut everything down that day," Gardner said.

"After all that time setting everything up, attracting new customers and creating a really good vibe, is was pretty heartbreaking to close the door."

The shop was closed throughout level four lockdown and then for the first week of alert level three.

"So we were closed for five weeks in the end."

Gardner said the closure put a lot of pressure on the owners especially.

"We had just opened and had a new team. I think it put a lot of pressure on the owners to manage it.

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"For me it was more the uncertainty around what the future was going to be and whether it was going to be able to pick up and open again.

"It was just a matter of seeing what happened."

Thankfully the business reopened with health protocols in place.

"It was about finding your feet again. We literally had to set it up again from scratch.

"It was like starting again afresh."

Billie Wilkinson creates another coffee. Photo / David Haxton
Billie Wilkinson creates another coffee. Photo / David Haxton

And importantly customers are coming back.

"I've been overwhelmed with the amount of support the local community has given us. It has been absolutely amazing.

"Like people walking past and saying 'I'll support local' and buying a bag of coffee beans.

"It's incredible — it really is.

"And we've been busy every single day."

There would be challenges ahead but there was optimism.

"My gut instinct says we're going to be okay.

"We've got strong community support around us, it's a good coffee and good brand [Dark Horse], and Love Stomp Floral do amazing reasonably-priced flowers."