The strategic position of Tirau's Loose Goose Cafe makes it a popular stop.

A founding hospitality business which helped turn around a once-desolate rural township into one of New Zealand's busiest stopover, antique and collectibles centres is for sale.

The Loose Goose Cafe Restaurant & Bar at 7 Main Rd in the small Waikato township of Tirau was among a handful of retail establishments at the forefront of the town's rejuvenation during the 1990s.

In the previous decade Tirau was a town in economic decline - having seen its BNZ branch shut, along with the local post office, butcher, baker, pharmacy and landmark general store.

Several business people decided it was time to capitalise on Tirau's strategic location on State Highway 1 equidistant between the large urban centres of Tauranga, Hamilton and Rotorua.


They factored in the advantage the town had in the form of a huge passing traffic count between Auckland and the central North Island that had little reason to stop at many of the Waikato's small service towns.

However, they did know that Aucklanders had a passion for antiques, bric-a-brac shopping and a growing appreciation for quality coffee.

The Loose Goose Cafe Restaurant & Bar, housed in the former BNZ premises, was one of the first cafe-styled hospitality operations to open in conjunction with doubling as an antiques and collectibles retail outlet that helped keep passing trade in the town for longer.

However, after almost two decades of continuous ownership, Loose Goose's proprietors are selling it as a going concern within leased premises for an asking price of $295,000 by Brendon and Lynn Bradley of Bayleys Tauranga.

"Loose Goose owners Basil and Carol started the business 17 years ago and have seen both the business and the town grow around them," Brendon Bradley says.

"But after a career of some 45 years in the hospitality industry, they are now looking to enjoy some of the fruits of their efforts and spend more time with their family."

Bradley says the cafe's prominent wide street-frontage position overlooking Tirau's main road where amusing corrugated iron artwork is a tourism feature ensures it is the first, or last, food and beverage stop for travellers.

The fully licensed business runs six days a week - serving traditional breakfasts and lunches, and modern New Zealand cuisine at night.

The cafe has seating for about 60 patrons inside and a further 25 spots outside in a sheltered rear courtyard, with the customer patronage split between 60 per cent locals and 40 per cent visitors.

The Loose Goose lease also includes a two-bedroom home.

"The clientele split between locals and visitors enables the business to apportion its service style accordingly," Bradley says. "By day, the focus is clearly on the coffee and a muffin, or sandwich and salad, passing trade. However, at night the venue morphs very much into a local eatery patronised by regulars for either casual dining or small gatherings and functions."

He says the definition of "local" encompasses residents from the nearby towns of Putaruru, Matamata and Cambridge. "With 17 years of continuous operation, Loose Goose has a built a strong reputation within that catchment area."

South Waikato District Council's extensive planning document for the town, entitled Tirau 2020, said Transit New Zealand data had recorded more than 11,000 vehicles travelling past Loose Goose daily. While a high traffic count outside its front door ensures its prominent profile, there is off-street parking at the rear.

"Tirau is recognised throughout New Zealand as a high-quality boutique retail centre, visitor stop and destination. The main road's antique stores, arts, crafts, and cafes are enjoyed by hundreds of people daily - making Tirau the bustling northern gateway to the South Waikato District," said the Tirau 2020 report.

"The vision for Tirau is to enhance its status as a thriving retail village. Through careful planning, Tirau will remain a unique village. It is continuously reinventing itself to stay contemporary and attractive."

What's on offer
The business: Loose Goose Cafe Restaurant & Bar
Address: 7 Main Rd, Tirau, Waikato.
Format: Going concern in a leased premises
Asking price: $295,000
Agency: Bayleys Tauranga

* On State Highway 1
* In popular tourist stopover
* High-profile street frontage
* Heavy traffic volume, 11,000 vehicles daily
* Fully licensed day and evening operation.