A small riverside cafe and bar is continuing to grow one year after a new owner took over.
Leanne Black, who owns Riverboat Bar and Cafe in Upokongaro, said they've gone from strength to strength over the last 12 months.
Black took over the lease of the building from Pat and Sally Tasker just before lockdown in 2020. Nervously emerging post-lockdown, she said she was thrilled with the support she had received and the growth over the last year.
"It's really booming. It's going really well. I'm really pleased with the support I've had. We are just getting more and more recognised."
Over Anzac weekend, AT Haulage lent a truck for Whanganui five-piece rock outfit Whiskey Mama to use as a stage to entertain the crowd in an event titled "Whiskey Mama On The Back Of A Truck in Upok".
"They're great, they're very well followed," Black said.
"We had a whole lot of people up there. They really enjoyed it and will be coming back sometime soon. A big thanks to them for coming up and playing some great music. We had a great showing from the public, it was awesome."
Black said they had noticed a significant uptick in customers since the Upokongaro Bridge was installed, making Upokongaro a popular destination for walkers, cyclists and the generally curious.
"The bridge has been very well used which means we get well used as well."
More than 30,000 people visited the bridge in December 2020 and January 2021 alone.
"We have definitely seen more people come through. We've been doing weddings, 50ths and all those parties. It's a nice little venue for up to 50 people," Black said.
The venue's success has fuelled Black's desire to continue to develop its offerings, telling locals to "watch this space", hinting at a potential expansion going on in Upokongaro.
"It's got something to do with me. It's another adventure, but I can't say much at the moment. There is another opportunity to do something else, which is exciting."
Black said with the move into the colder months, the bar's focus would shift to quiz and karaoke nights.
"I've had a number of bands from Whanganui approach me that would love to play. We are just trying to find our feet, we don't want to overdo it. For me, it's going to be more of a summer thing.
"In the wintertime, we will be pushing quiz nights as the fire is going, it is so inviting."