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Provincial wedding and function venue business groomed for sale

Tags: Commercial

One of the plushest function and corporate all-in-one event venues in provincial South Island - complete with its own specialised bakery and patisserie-making kitchen - has been placed on the market for sale for the first time.

StoneBridge wedding and function venue in the South Canterbury township of Geraldine is a purpose-built event-hosting destination which is operated in conjunction with a commercial accommodation arm.

In total, StoneBridge contains five bedrooms and 10 bathrooms. The property’s main homestead is a two-storey dwelling containing four bedrooms, two lounges and two bathrooms – all warmed by a central heat pump system with the additional assistance of a wood burner and an open fire.

Adjacent, is the high-stud open plan self-contained studio unit - with French doors leading to a private courtyard and outdoor spa area.

The venue’s main function hall provides seating for up to 250 guests, while the addition of a marquee to the side of the building adds capacity for a further 200 guests. The property has onside car parking for up to 500 vehicles and a private helicopter landing pad.

The boutique StoneBridge land, buildings and going concern function business at 842 Winchester-Geraldine Road are now being marketed for sale through a deadline sale process, with offers being taken until 2pm on November 1 through Bayleys Canterbury.

Salesperson Sue Morton said StoneBridge was in a fortunate business model – able generate revenues from multiple revenue streams, and with the potential to expand into the foodservice sector. The business held an on-premise liquor license, and a license for offsite catering.

“A brand new bakery and patisserie section was added to the business in 2015, and until recently has been successfully producing everything from croissants, breads, pastries, patisseries and other baked goods including breads, and sweet or savoury tartlets for the functions hosted in the main reception facility,” she said.

“The bakehouse is connected to the main kitchen area and services an outdoor seating area with its own pizza oven and capacity for up to 48 guests either standing or seated in wooden park bench-like tables with spotlighting around the walls.

“However, there is the considerable opportunity for a new baker/pastry chef to join the company to either expand the production side of the bakery to sell StoneBridge-branded product to the local foodservice market, or to sub-lease the facility to someone else while retaining the right for Stonebridge chefs to still bake their own products for on-site functions.

“Either of those options opens up the potential for someone with patisserie experience or a culinary and hospitality background to take on the broader Stonebridge operations.”

Stonebridge’s commercial-grade stainless steel kitchen encompasses a walk-in chiller unit with shelving, a ‘Chef for Life’ Moffat Convotherm oven, hot plate section, Alto Sham holding/cooking oven, salamander grill, and deep fryer, along with dishwashing and rinsing units.

Chattels linked to the bakery and patisserie operations of StoneBridge include heavy duty dough mixers and pastry roller. Meanwhile, front of house fittings and chattels linked to the business include all tables, chairs, crockery and cutlery.

Ms Morton said Stonebridge’s landscaped gardens featured a man-made lake with lawn gently sloping down to the banks, and a simple beam bridge crossing the water.

“The professionally-groomed grounds are a wedding photographer’s dream. The property is planted in a menagerie of trees, shrubs and flowering bushes, all set on a 3.735 hectare rural backdrop,” she said.

Financial records show StoneBridge’s gross profit percentage has been growing steadily over the past five trading years – up from 76,89 percent in the 2012/13 period to 89.88 percent over the 2015/16 financial year,

StoneBridge already has dozens of wedding bookings throughout 2018 and 2019, and even one celebration confirmed for 2020. Most of the wedding functions are for parties of at least 100 guests, with a ball locked in for April next year to host 300 people. Many of the functions which have booked food and beverage packages at StoneBridge have also reserved rooms at the homestead and self-contained unit.

“Having complimentary function services is one of the obvious benefits of running a vertically-integrated business,” Ms Morton said.

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