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Iconic country café business for sale serves up tasty expansion options for buyers

Tags: Commercial

The land, buildings and business sustaining a licensed café in an iconic historic building on a South Island tourist highway have been put up for sale. There is the potential to increase revenue from the café and accommodation.


Kohatu Flat Rock Café operates in a restored 19th Century building which is a prominent landmark at the junction of State Highways 6 and 61, about 45 kilometres southwest of Nelson.

The property was originally built as a hotel in 1878 by the Bromell family, who were among the area’s earliest European settlers and still have descendants in the region. The former hotel and pub lay closed and derelict for three years before current owners Maureen and Graeme Crook bought the building in 2011.

The couple carried out extensive works over 18 months to convert it to a licensed café and eatery, and have since grown it into an established and successful business catering to locals and visitors.

The land, buildings and business sustaining Kohatu Flat Rock Café are now being marketed for sale as a freehold going concern. Sale will be by negotiation, through Bayleys Nelson.

Salespeople Dennis Christian and Gill Ireland said after nine years of running the business and living on site, the owners were now planning to move on to their next chapter.

This offers buyers an attractive lifestyle business opportunity, with multiple expansion options to capitalise on an evolving local visitor economy.

Mr Christian said assets for sale included buildings with a total floor area of some 519 square metres on approximately 1.1 hectares of freehold land, with plenty of parking for guests and three covered spaces for owners/managers.

“The owners have updated the property with a fully fitted-out café and commercial kitchen.

“The original hotel building is currently used as a substantial family residence, separated from the café by fully compliant fire walls and access. There is exterior access to the front and rear of the residence with two large interconnected living/dining rooms on the ground floor,” said Mr Christian.

“A covered walkway at the rear leads through to living quarters including kitchen/dining, living, bedroom/office and laundry/storage rooms.

“The first floor is accessed via a stairway from the main hallway and comprises six bedroom/living areas, two with ensuite bathrooms and a third bathroom.”

Mr Christian said the building presented new owners with the option to reintroduce an accommodation offering, while the substantial land area could possibly be further developed, with cabin accommodation – serviced by existing toilet facilities – or camping sites.

“There is an immediate opportunity to lift the café’s profitability by extending its opening hours, which are currently 10am to 3pm in winter and 9am to 4pm in summer,” said Mr Christian.

“With a full commercial kitchen there’s an ability to offer evening meals to travellers and locals, or simply to extend the hours to capitalise on the busy passing traffic.

Ms Ireland said a popular family camping ground, Quinneys Bush, was minutes away – providing a captive market for family meals or takeaways.

“With local farms relying on seasonal workers, the current owners have also been providing catering to one farm, and there is an opportunity to extend this,” Ms Ireland said.

Centrally located between Murchison, Motueka and Nelson, the café is already well supported by various groups, from car clubs to cycling groups, along with travellers bound for Abel Tasman, Nelson Lakes or Kahurangi national parks, or en route to Nelson or the West Coast.

“With new sections of the Great Taste Cycle Trail opening recently right on the site’s boundary, and with plenty of land, new owners could choose to develop a cycle hire hub to attract people keen to explore the trail.

“There will also be new opportunities to cater to motoring enthusiasts with plans advancing for a new Kohatu Motor Sports Park just 10 minutes from the property.

“The business’ positioning across the road from the confluence of the Motupiko and Motueka rivers means there is also the potential to market to fishers keen to land a Rainbow or Brown Trout,” Ms Ireland said.

The Kohatu Flat Rock Café business is currently run by the owner, supported by two part-time staff.

Ms Ireland said an extension of hours or business activities would require a review of future staffing requirements. There was ample room to provide accommodation for staff on-site, she said.

Detailed information on business performance and assets is available to potential buyers subject to signing a confidentiality agreement.

Click here for more information on the listing.

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