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First tenant for main street development signed up

Gemmells web

Wairoa’s main street redevelopment is gathering momentum with the lease agreement for the first tenant now in place.

Hospitality and entertainment entrepreneurs Layton and Ange Gemmell are the first tenants to sign up for a top spot in the new Te Wairoa E Whanake Marine Parade space.

The dynamic couple can’t wait to open the doors to Gemmells – Café, Bar and Restaurant, and expand their already thriving business.

Wairoa District Council Chief Executive Kitea Tipuna said it is fantastic to see a committed community-orientated local couple stepping into this space. “Layton and Ange have already demonstrated they can build a business through hard work and recognising opportunity. It is great to have them onboard and exciting to be offering another hospitality dimension to Wairoa’s growing population.

The couple have a 20-year local history of providing entertainment and hospitality in Wairoa.

As a muso, Layton got the ball rolling providing DJ services, music lessons and live entertainment which progressed into children’s parties and events. Entertainment naturally flowed into hospitality which is where Ange’s culinary strength came to the fore.

The couple hope to be able to open their new business by the middle of next year. They aim to run the café seven days a week and switching to the restaurant for the evenings for five days from Wednesday to Sunday.

“We are looking to provide a restaurant that ranges from comfortable family staples through to platters in the courtyard and more upmarket fine dining. People will remember our attention to wholesome fresh and healthy food from our seven-year stint at the Wairoa Club restaurant. While this won’t be exactly the same, the foundation of customer service and high standards remains.”

A drive behind the café and restaurant venture is to upskill and train local people. “At the moment we employ seven staff, and the café/restaurant will extend that by five or six more people. We want our staff to be able to train and become accredited so they can go from being in a training environment, to an employee. It’s about Wairoa growing our own from baristas to bar managers.”

In the meantime, the Gemmell’s will continue with lunches in schools, which sees them create 500 lunches a day during the school term, their mobile food cart, which is based at the Wairoa Health Centre site, and attends local events giving the brand an opportunity to take the food to the people, and Layton’s band – Revival.

“We are really looking forward to launching the café, bar and restaurant and bringing all our business arms together to provide entertainment and hospitality options for our local community.”

The Gemmell’s new café and restaurant is one of three businesses at the redeveloped main street site, along with the hospitality pod and one other business that is in the final stages of having its tenancy agreement confirmed.

Te Wairoa E Whanake – Rise Up and Grow Wairoa involves transforming the former main street burnt-out building and the neighbouring former Winter’s building. The project is predominantly funded through a $4.8 million Provincial Growth Fund grant from Kānoa, the Government’s Regional Economic Development and Investment Unit. The project focusses on delivering a multi-functional connected town centre that celebrates Wairoa’s unique heritage and culture.

Caption:  Ange and Layton Gemmell are pictured with Wairoa District Council Chief Executive Kitea Tipuna, signing the first lease for space in the Te Wairoa E Whanake main street redevelopment which will see the launch of Gemmells Café Bar and Restaurant.

12 December 2022

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