Coffee in a crisis

5 June 2020

Blair & Tayler Paterson from Homebrew Coffee

When Blair Paterson graduated with his Bachelor of Management Studies (BMS) from the University of Waikato in 2018, he knew he wanted to start his own business. With his love for coffee and café culture, it made sense to combine business and passion, and the idea for Homebrew Coffee in Cambridge was born.

While Blair had a strong background in strategic management from his BMS and business experience as a freelance photographer, he says nothing could really have prepared him for business ownership as a new graduate. He’d always been excited about start-up and his enthusiasm helped him through the early stages of business creation.

“One of the fun things about starting a business is the demand to learn and adapt to the daily environment quickly and responsively. Nothing really prepares you for this other than your own self-belief, persistence and motivation.”

And that persistence paid off. Less than 12 months after opening, Homebrew Coffee took out three awards at the 2019 Waipa Business Awards: Excellence in Business: New and Emerging, Best Customer Service and the Customer Choice Award.

The COVID-19 situation has added extra stress to a business that has only been trading since February 2019. “We decided early on into the lockdown period the best strategy for our business was to keep team morale high and focus on operational compliance as restrictions lowered,” Blair says.

Homebrew Coffee took the decision to stop operating on the Monday the move to Level 4 was announced, to eliminate the risk of the business enabling the spread of COVID-19 in the community. Throughout lockdown and the subsequent alert levels, the leadership team at Homebrew were constantly assessing their actions to ensure they complied with regulations and kept their staff and customers safe.

While the COVID-19 situation has been challenging, it’s been a good learning curve for Blair and the team. It’s early days yet, but he’s hopeful that the business will emerge from this crisis in a stronger position than before. Whatever happens, Blair and the team are very happy to be back on site, bringing coffee and community to the people of Cambridge.

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