Confidence in seaside town’s future

Brighton coffee cart owner Andrew Barr samples some of his own take-away coffee at his ‘‘Artisan State’’ premises. PHOTO: GERARD O’BRIEN
Brighton coffee cart owner Andrew Barr samples some of his own take-away coffee at his ‘‘Artisan State’’ premises. PHOTO: GERARD O’BRIEN

Recent positive developments in Brighton suggest it could become Dunedin’s ‘‘next St Clair’’.

That is the view of Brighton resident Andrew Barr, who is selling high-quality takeaway coffee from a cart outside his Brighton Rd home, and also displays visual art and sells gifts from a nearby six metre-long shipping container.

‘‘It’s primarily a coffee shop, but we have gifts in the container.’’

Mr Barr (38) moved to Brighton from Wellington nearly two years ago, and started selling coffee about 18 months ago, at his house in Brighton Rd, about 50m from a main entry to the beach.

About three months later, he added the 6m-long shipping container, where paintings and sculptures and carved stone works are on sale, as well as gifts.

Mr Barr said providing the takeaway coffee was adding to Brighton’s service facilities, and was part of the maturing of the community.

He calls his coffee, gifts and arts display areas Artisan Space.

By providing the shipping container, he wanted to provide a venue for Brighton artists to display and sell their works, ‘‘a space where they could put their stuff’’, and to provide an attractive place for people to gather.

‘‘The essential idea was to have a community place, a bit of a community hub where people could meet people and could share ideas.

‘‘It’s been fantastic.’’

Mr Barr, who has long been self-employed, is also a stone carver, working in Oamaru stone, alabaster and marble.

These days he spends much more time making coffee than carving, but he is happy to provide a space where local artists, including painter Janet Weir and sculptor Sussanne Emslie, can display some of their works.

Azizah Steel, owner of the Brighton Store and the Brighton Beach Cafe, which recently also started selling high-quality coffee, shares Mr Barr’s optimism about the future.

Ms Steel, who has lived in the area for 19 years, says there are more people living there now.

‘‘Compared with 19 years ago, its become trendier.’’

Mr Barr said that, within five to 10 years, Brighton ‘‘has the potential to be another St Clair’’. 

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