Alice Little bought Ginger Bird in Colyton five months ago.
She worked with previous owner Ellen Melody, who was thinking of selling as she was pregnant.
Alice consulted with her father who supported her dream to "always own her own cafe".
Alice studied human nutrition and holds a Diploma in Science and Technology, which gives her a better perspective of what is good food.
"I am focused, not just for myself and the staff, but for the public."
This background gives her a greater understanding of dietary requirements and her baking and cabinet food makes it easier for people to create their own food choices.
Ginger Bird offers gluten-free savoury and sweet - "People who go out to eat want something naughty," says Alice.
Alice played hockey for the Central District team and says she understands motivation and determination, which are the attributes for her to run Ginger Bird.
Ginger Bird's opening hours are 7am-3pm but Alice is in Ginger Bird's kitchen at 5.30am.
"I push myself," she says of her focus to succeed in the new business.
The Covid-19 lockdown happened just as Alice took over Ginger Bird, but her determination did not waver.
Being from Palmerston North, Alice says her customer base has broadened, with a mix of locals and travellers who pass through the Manawatū.
Word of mouth works in the food industry, says Alice, as does her Instagram and Facebook.