Airspresso Cafe co-owner Jim Hickey (left) with kitchen
designer Nils Danielsen (centre), and designer Mike
Marshall in Airspresso Cafe at Queenstown Airport. The cafe
was officially opened last night. Photo by Tracey Roxburgh.
Television weatherman Jim Hickey reckons it will take ''a
lot of coffees'' to make an investment worth ''a bit north of
$1 million'' at Queenstown Airport pay off.
However, in the fortnight Airspresso Cafe has been open,
business has already taken off - turning a dream into a
reality for Mr Hickey and business partners Craig Macfarlane,
Karyn Grant, Justin Bird and Birthe Svendheim, who all own
Joe's Garage in Queenstown.
The cafe had been several years in the planning.
''I came door-knocking [at the airport] three years ago - I
could see that we'd love to get our teeth into this place,''
Mr Hickey said.
''A year later I got a letter saying the lease has come up
and they were calling for expressions of interest.
"It was a big punt and we had to put everything on the line
to get in here.''
Airspresso Queenstown is the second of its kind in New
Zealand - the original cafe was established at New Plymouth
Airport about eight years ago.
The formula was simple - providing ''outstanding coffee''
with quality food and beverages, wherever possible sourced
locally and made on site.
However, what set the Airspresso brand apart from others was
its aviation ambience.
At the Queenstown outlet, a four-sided service area is
surrounded by aviation stories and artefacts, including large
panels documenting aviation pioneers, including Queenstown
pilot Jules Tapper, Sir Tim Wallace, Hugh McCaw, a Tempest
pilot during World War 2, and Frederick ''Popeye'' Lucas -
one of the first commercial pilots in Wakatipu.
Tables are decorated with aviation magazines, with historical
and modern aviation images hung on walls beside deer heads -
including one shot by Sir Tim in the 1970s.
Aircraft propellers adorn walls, while a glass cabinet holds
a host of aviation artefacts and the floor is painted with
runway configurations of Queenstown Airport.
Mr Hickey said timber used in the ''contemporary and urban''
fit out had come from Christchurch following the 2011
earthquakes. Steel had been fabricated in Central Otago and
''[We wanted to] use the tapestry of the area in the fit out.
''Tom Glover [of Naylor Love] has been outstanding and
treated the artefacts with the deference they deserved.''
The cafe opened for business last month and the reaction had
been phenomenal, he said.
''We had one customer services manager from Qantas Australia
here. He came up to me ... and said 'I haven't seen anything
like this in Australasia' ... he said it was outstanding.''
Alongside the cafe in the main terminal building, a second
Airspresso had opened in the international departure lounge.
Mr Hickey said Airspresso was operating under a six-year