It can take a good dose of courage to step from staff member to business owner.
After working in the Taupō hospitality sector for a number of years, Scott and Jo Johnson decided it was time to make the leap. “We began by looking at businesses for sale, and quickly found that there were a lot of great eateries in Taupō already” says Scott. “So we decided to search further south in Turangi. There were some really good options for sale and prices were well-within our budget.”
Within a few weeks Scott and Jo became the proud owners of Hydro Café. The café is
located in the centre of Turangi and attracts both tourists and locals. “We’ve been at Hydro
for almost two years now and it feels like Turangi is definitely getting more visitors. In
summer we have queues out the door. That really surprised us. We also get busy in winter
during the ski season” says Scott.
Owning a new business always comes with a few challenges. “This is our first business so
we’ve been learning on the job. There are some good resources out there but you have to
know where to find them. It’s definitely been a learning curve” says Scott.
The couple have worked hard to grow their business, increasing staff numbers from six to
twelve. They now offer a full catering service and open the café up for people to host
evening workshops, covering a wide range of topics including waste-management, te reo
Māori, and raw food.
Scott and Jo have loved the move to Turangi. “The people here have been really welcoming
and supportive. They turn up to the workshops, support our catering business, and pop in
for their regular coffee. And there are so many things to do with the family. Bush walking,
swimming at the Turtle Pools, fishing – there’s lots of room for the kids to play and have
fun” says Scott.
Scott has some words of advice for those looking to own their own business. “Do some
market research, see what’s happening and what’s for sale. Then go for it! There are so
many opportunities out there” says Scott.