New year, new fix: Canterbury couple realise dream of opening coffee shop

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Glenn and Toni Sowman at their new cafe, Triangle Espresso. Photo: Ashburton Courier
Glenn and Toni Sowman at their new cafe, Triangle Espresso. Photo: Ashburton Courier
Covid has not stopped Glenn and Toni Sowman from realising a dream to open their own coffee shop.

The Ashburton pair did just that this week when Triangle Espresso opened its doors, selling Allpress coffee and tasty food.

Glenn, who works for Carrfields Irrigation, and Toni, a part-time restorative justice facilitator, were happily run off their feet on the first day of business.

The couple, with barista Sindy Fitzgerald, chef Natalie Marchant and staff Cheri McDonald, Molly McKenna and Nora Quigley, kept the coffees and food ticking over while Ashburton people explored the new venue.

Triangle Espresso is on the corner of Cass and Victoria Streets, with its black building face and neon light standing out.

Glenn is the cook in their family, which includes daughter Libi, and it has been on his bucket list to run a cafe. The couple are friends with building owner Justin Skilling, who had space to rent.

Toni suggested it would be good for a cafe … and Glenn’s dream turned into reality, even though covid held up plans for six months.

The Sowmans have used the extra time to build a following on social media and learn new skills that are pandemic resistant.

With folding windows that open onto the street, they could operate under Alert Level 4. They choose to see the positive, with customers keen to be out and about; their sit-down tables were prime real estate on Monday.

Toni said they had tried for an uplifting feel, right down to inspirational quotes on the walls of the toilets. They want customers to smile.

Their food is healthy and “not so healthy” with an emphasis on not using refined sugar, as well as offering salad jars, dairy free and gluten free food. “There is definitely room to grow and while we have cabinet food for now, there is a lunch menu coming.”

Small businesses like Triangle Espresso employ about a third of New Zealand’s workforce.

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