The community of a popular new suburban Napier cafe is rallying around its owners after a burglary which mean the shop was unable to open on Tuesday.

Ethan Phillips, co-owner of Empire Coffee Roasters, fronting Allan Berry Ave in the Pirimai Plaza shopping centre, learnt of the raid after friend and customer Paul Freeman noticed things "didn't look right" and called a short while before Phillips would have headed down to open-up at 7am.

Taken were an iPad, which Phillips said was effectively the business side of the operation, plus a cash float, and an ornamental axe made by Freeman. There was minor damage to the door and lock.

The business was unable to function properly until issues relating to the use of the iPad were sorted out.


While police were told via the 105 non-emergency number officers were on the scene 30-40 minutes later, impressing Phillips who said: "We can chalk that one up for the Police."

Phillips, who has a wife and infant daughter, has been in the business about a year, with help from his mother and one staff member.

Freeman said customers were disappointed to hear of the burglary of what has quickly become a community hub in a once-thriving community shopping centre now occupied by the cafe, a fish and chip shop the locals reckon has the best in town, a dairy, and the Pirimai Baptist Church.

The cafe is open Tuesday-Sunday 7am to 2pm and is particularly popular with young mums after taking their children to the nearby kindergarten and daycare centres.

Freeman said: "The cafe is a real hub for the community and it's a real shame to see this happen to such a nice guy."

By late afternoon it was understood there had been no sign of the items taken and police were continuing an investigation.