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Making the Leap

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.



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