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When the Canterbury earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 claimed Deb and Ian Riach’s chain of Yellow Rocket cafés in Christchurch, the pair faced a big decision: “We could have been financially and emotionally wiped out,” explains Deb. “But instead, we used this incredibly hard season to re-strategise our business focus and successfully set a new direction for the company.”
Establishing the Coffee Worx brand, the pair built a large café and moved their coffee roasting operation to Rangiora, allowing them to shift their focus from the Christchurch market and set their sights on the wider market of North Canterbury.
“We couldn't be more pleased with our strategic move to bring a large part of our operation from Christchurch to Rangiora,” explains Deb. “When we opened our business in Rangiora in July 2013, we believed we would be contributing successfully to the local economy we have lived in for the past 25 years. We really enjoy being here in Rangiora and see it as one of the only beneficial outcomes of the earthquakes.”
In 2018 the couple chose to enter the North Canterbury Business Awards, and walked away with the Tourism & Hospitality Award.
“We entered the Business Awards because we were anonymously nominated and after we considered the prospect, we decided to give it a go,” explains Deb. “We were very encouraged by winning the award. Hospitality is a very tough business and we have been in it for many years. It was great for us and our team to be recognised for all the hard work and genuine desire to do an outstanding job for our customers. It was really uplifting to feel that we are making an impact.”
This award adds to their already impressive selection of coffee-roasting awards, achieved through their constant pursuit of excellence.
“Coffee Worx has built a reputation for excellent coffee. We are a coffee roasting business, so the quality and consistency of our coffee is of the utmost importance to us,” says Deb.
“We roast approximately 800 kilos of coffee per week for South Island-wide distribution and we sell approximately 70 kilos per week at our Rangiora cafe through the espresso machine and in retail bags.
“The coffee industry - as in all the hospitality sector - is highly competitive and it takes continual perseverance, clever marketing, dedication to the product and systems and a strong self-belief to stay in the industry long term. But we love the coffee industry. Although it is constantly challenging, we still get a kick out of producing excellent coffee and serving up our version of ‘Happiness in a Cup’.”
The 2018 North Canterbury Business Awards judging panel commended Deb and Ian for their exceptional customer service. “Customer Service is at the heart of Coffee Worx,” the judges said, adding that they were very impressed with the winning combination of ‘good food, good coffee and a great business strategy’.
Deb concurs that their strong customer relationships are the reason they remain in business.
“Many of our customers have come from our other cafes, so we have known some of them for many years. We have met many more while being here in Rangiora and it would be fair to say that they are the reason we do what we do. We have stayed in hospitality because of our strong relationships with customers and suppliers and, for us, relationships and seeing our customers happy are the motivation for our business.
“We also have a great team of committed, hardworking staff who we appreciate immensely. Both Ian and I really enjoy being part of a team and I look on our staff as being our best asset.”
Coffee Worx Roastery Café is located at 13 Ashely Street in Rangiora. They also operate an Espresso Bar attached to their distribution centre at 60 Hayton Road in Christchurch. Find out more about this award-winning business here >>