Auckland daydreams create Taupo success story

It all started with a dream… and a garage full of retro recycled furniture.

Brad Dellar and Sam King are Taupo’s cool kids of coffee and the masterminds behind the funky Storehouse Café.

The Storehouse is the latest addition to Taupo’s competitive café scene, throwing its doors open for business in April 2013 and the boys say it’s been a wild ride so far.

Brad and wife Melissa, in partnership with Melissa’s brother Sam, dreamt up the café concept while working and studying in Auckland.

“It’s been a dream for ages,” Brad says, with the team wanting somewhere to display all the vintage furniture they'd been collecting and restoring along with a spot for smooth coffee and delicious food.

Years later, they returned to Taupo and found a For Lease sign in the window of a dusty old industrial building on Runanga Street. 

The dream was reborn and the Storehouse Café opened for business as a florist, homeware & recycled furniture shop and a café all packed into one very funky space, oozing with retro charm and energy.

“We always wanted to do something like this together, and now we’re doing it. Sam’s awesome at coffee and we’re basically just combining our strengths and passions,” says Brad.

However Brad and Melissa say the business is constantly evolving, with local demand pushing the café to the forefront.

“The biggest hit has been the café,” Brad says. “It’s the beast that has taken over the business,” laughs Melissa, a former hairdresser who started up florist Daisychains & Paperplanes alongside sister, Anna Williams. “And we have to give the people what they want.” 

So the girls now run the florist from home and much of Brad’s boutique recycled furniture has gone back in the garage, in favor of plans to expand the café’s kitchen.

“Now we’re aiming towards having a liquor license, opening in the evenings and expanding, which should add a whole new element of fun,” Brad says.

Despite scoring many rave reviews in books and magazines since the café’s inception some 18 months ago, Brad says it hasn’t been smooth sailing for the young team.

“It’s hard doing something fresh in Taupo and initially it was hard for people to get us. They like their regular cafes and that’s hard to change,” Brad says.

“On weekends and holidays we get flooded with out-of-towner’s from Auckland and Wellington but during the winter it’s our locals that keep things alive,” he says.

Brad says he would like Taupo to be a place where more young people could come and live and do business.

“Taupo is a such a cool place,” he says. “A bit of fresh blood and new ideas would help innovate Taupo’s business scene and help attract more visitors to the region."

“There are many well established businesses in Taupo which have been here for years, and while they’re good at what they do, but new ideas and enthusiasm is always good as well.”

He encourages the local community to get behind them and help put Taupo on the map.

The team is optimistic in the lead-up to a summer, and hoping to attract even bigger crowds once they get a liquor license under their belts.

“It’s hard work but we’ve got to keep going until we crack something,” Brad says.” We’d like to build a rooftop deck out the front… there’s always dreams, we never stop dreaming!”

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