A Whanganui couple's plans to sell their business and focus on developing another one were left hanging when New Zealand went into Covid-19 lockdown.
Victoria Handley and Ash Patel have operated Victoria's T 4 2, a central city cafe, for the past nine-and-a-half years but a few months ago they put it on the market.
They wanted more time with their 5-year-old daughter Harriet and for Handley's other business Milk It, Baby which makes products to assist breastfeeding.
Handley's health was also a major factor as she has a number of autoimmune conditions and the long, hard days in the cafe were taking their toll.
"We put it on the market two months before lockdown and one person was interested but then they said 'no'," Handley said.
"Then about a week before lockdown someone came in and asked us if we still wanted to sell the business, made a cash offer and we said 'thank you very much'.
"But then lockdown happened and we didn't know if it had gone through or not. Everything you saw was saying hospitality is the most difficult business and will be most affected."
However, the deal was completed and since then the couple have been frantically busy.
"We had a week to pack up and get out and I still had to carry on with Milk It, Baby, baking every day and I stayed up until 2am on Saturday to get the baking done."
Because Milk It, Baby was considered an essential service, Handley was able to continue making products, doing the baking at Victoria's T 4 2 where she was the only person in the building. She is getting her home kitchen registered to operate the business from there until she decides on future plans.
"It has certainly been all go," Handley said.
"A lot of our customers were elderly and they're going to have no idea we've closed. When we were packing up we even had people, who weren't customers, coming off the street saying 'it's sad you're closing because of Covid' - but that's not the case at all.
"We had a huge elderly clientele who were so loyal and came to us every week. Lots of people have been asking for the yoyos and tan square - maybe I'll give some recipes to some of our special customers.
"It's a very strange feeling at the moment.
"I'll focus now on the other business which has been doing really well during lockdown with orders and contactless deliveries."
As part of the sale agreement, Handley will keep the Victoria's T 4 2 name and the catering side of the business. And Patel has a new job, just next door to the cafe at DTR where he'll make use of his background in sales and electronics.
Handley said the new owner will be operating an eatery, though it will be very different from the fare offered at Victoria's T 4 2.