Like many business owners, Coffee Chic's Florent Vade has been hit hard by the Covid-19 lockdown - but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Vade finds the majority of his customers by setting up his coffee cart at local markets and events or travelling to other areas, all of which came to a grinding halt in alert levels 3 and 4.

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However, he is now back up and running, outside the Gull petrol station on Te Ngae Rd, thanks to the generosity of others.


R&B Property Group managing director Ray Cook is the landlord for the site. He approached the Gull head office about letting Vade set up his coffee cart there free of charge and they agreed.

"Basically we were out of work with a lot of events either postponed or cancelled," Vade said.

"We had to find a plan B, find something else to do. This is good, we are grateful, it's a nice opportunity. We started on Thursday last week so it will take a while for people to find out we are here but it seems to be picking up day after day."

Vade said the biggest issue at present was uncertainty about when we move to level 2 and what that will look like.

"Even now, we try to find something to do but you don't really know what next week will look like. We just try to survive for the short term, the uncertainty about what's coming is the hard thing. We don't know how many jobs will be lost and how much money will be around after this."

Cook said Vade was a tenant at one of his other properties and had asked if he knew of any vacant sites, which is when he thought Gull could be an option.

"Gull have let them go there in the interim, free of charge, until everything settles down. I'm sure if it was long term they would want to talk to them about something but for now that's how it stands."

He said it was crucial to support each other and support local businesses as much as possible as they look to rebuild.


"What's happening at present is just unheard of, we've never seen anything like this before. The only way we're going to get through this is everybody supporting everybody local.

"Whether we like it or not there will probably be people who aren't going to survive and people who are going to survive. Somehow we need to reinvent ourselves as a city. The CBD was in trouble even before coronavirus - it's serious." The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

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