Cafe to be sold after 15 years

Baz Farrell stands behind the counter of the Courthouse Cafe in Alexandra. He and his wife, Becs,...
Baz Farrell stands behind the counter of the Courthouse Cafe in Alexandra. He and his wife, Becs, are selling the business after 15 years of operation. PHOTO: RUBY SHAW
After 15 years at the helm, the owners of one of Alexandra's most well-known cafes are stepping back and putting the business up for sale.

Baz and Becs Farrell, of Earnscleugh, opened the Courthouse Cafe in September of 2009, operating out of the historic Alexandra Courthouse.

Mr Farrell said the decision to sell the business was "bittersweet".

"We love what we do — it is sad for us in some way to step back from it", he said.

The business model had required some tweaking along the way, which was necessary for the fast-paced environment of the cafe.

"You go from having no coffees to having 50 [coffees] to do ... you just have to learn to flick that switch.

"When people are complimenting you on your food and service — it makes it an easier place to work."

Over 15 years, the cafe had amassed a loyal following of locals and visitors.

The stone building is a category 2 heritage site, constructed in 1879 during the Central Otago gold rush and had operated as courthouse until 1979.

The cafe had served several patrons who had visited The Courthouse in its previous capacity, Mr Farrell said.

"One guy, in 1953, was [at the courthouse] because he’d been caught speeding on his motorcycle . . . got done for it and had lost his licence . . . There’s lots of good stories about."

The property had been listed with LJ Hooker Alexandra.

Mr Farrell hoped any future owner would continue to build on the legacy they had established.

He said the couple would be happy to work with new owners in a transition period.

Mr and Mrs Farrell will remain in the hospitality industry and planned to move forward with developments at the Earnscleugh restaurant The Packing Shed, which they have owned for more than 20 years.