Renovating a dilapidated horse float kick-started a fledgling coffee cart business set to franchise nationwide next year.
Street Wise began 3½ years ago, when police Inspector Craig Cameron and two business partners plucked a ramshackle horse float from a paddock in Otaki.
They stripped it down, reframed and welded it then decked it out as a coffee cart, locating their new business at the northern end of Otaki’s shopping centre on State Highway 1.
Today Street Wise sells several hundred cups of coffee a day, has added another coffee cart in Kapiti Rd, Paraparaumu, and plans to franchise its business nationwide next year using the horse float as a design model.
“It has been a long hard slog to get where we are today, with some hard lessons along the way,” Mr Cameron said.
“The biggest thing is to deliver the same quality of service, otherwise you go out of business.”
He and business partners Jol Glover and James Ballard combined their talents to rebuild the horse float, install coffee machinery, set a business plan and are now ready to patent their design.
During the past couple of years, Street Wise had developed a strong local clientele base and many out-of-towners travelling through pre-ordered their coffee by text message.
Mr Cameron’s involvement with the police force had helped in developing the business.
“Lots of police officers call in for coffees and the bonus of training in the force is that most of the work focuses around task and team objectives.
“It is pretty much like the procedures for running police operations – keep focused, get money in, keep paying the bills and do not go broke.”
Besides coffee, Street Wise Coffee sells Kapiti olive oil, Nyco Chocolates made in Paraparaumu and has just secured an order with a Wellington bakery to add cake squares and chocolate brownies to their menu.