La­goon-side cafe clos­ing as lease ex­pires

The Coffs Coast Advocate - - FRONT PAGE - Wendy An­drews wendy.an­drews @coff­s­coa stad­vo­cate.com.au

IN THE words of singer Joni Mitchell, it looks like they might “pave par­adise and put up a park­ing lot”.

Af­ter Septem­ber 24 there will be no more lat­tes around the la­goon. The Hid­den Link Cafe is clos­ing its doors and the fam­ily team of Belinda and Alan Reeves, their daugh­ter Claire and their val­ued staff are mov­ing on.

“It is with a heavy heart we’re leav­ing,” Belinda said.

“But our lease is up and the prop­erty needs to be de­vel­oped. If some­one would like to take it on, we would love to come back.

“There’s a (de­vel­op­ment ap­pli­ca­tion) in for a petrol sta­tion on this site, which would mean the dam would be filled in and ev­ery­thing goes. My un­der­stand­ing is that it can’t be sub­di­vided. It’s such a beau­ti­ful set­ting, it would be a shame to see all this go.”

At the Sawtell end of Hog­bin Dr, the 1.46ha site in­cludes the for­mer beau­ti­ful but now sadly va­cant Cock­bains Nurs­ery, a man-made la­goon that at­tracts the lo­cal wildlife, a pri­vate res­i­dence and the cafe, all sur­rounded by ma­ture, lush, trop­i­cal plant­ings.

For the past three years, Belinda, Alan, Claire and the staff have de­lib­er­ately, and suc­cess­fully, cre­ated an “un­hur­ried, re­laxed vibe” at the Hid­den Link Cafe.

Cus­tomers can linger by the la­goon, en­joy the shade of the tree canopy and spot the wildlife while en­joy­ing great cof­fee and food.

“It’s re­ally hard to leave. We love this spot and cater to so many com­mu­nity, so­cial and church groups. A lot of our clients are also el­derly, dis­abled or with mo­bil­ity prob­lems. Quite a few car­ers bring peo­ple with spe­cial needs here to in­tro­duce them to so­cial set­tings and eat­ing out,” Belinda said.

“This place has be­come our sec­ond home and we have loved turn­ing up ev­ery day to do some­thing we love. We’ll miss the clien­tele more than they will miss us.”

Apart from thank­ing her cus­tomers for their loy­alty, sup­port and friend­ship dur­ing the past three years, Belinda was quick to praise staff.

“Work­ing with a great team makes the man­age­ment side of things a lit­tle eas­ier. To those here to­day and those who have come and gone along the way, this place wouldn’t be where it is with­out all your hard work.”

Although the doors will be clos­ing at this ad­dress, Belinda, Alan and Claire are de­ter­mined to “recre­ate this vibe” some­where else.

“As I wrote on our Face­book page, it is sad to post this news about the clo­sure,” Belinda said.

“But this is not the end of us. We’ll be tak­ing a short break and look­ing at our op­tions, so please like our Hid­den Link Cafe Face­book page and we’ll keep you posted on our next ven­ture.”

It’s such a beau­ti­ful set­ting, it would be a shame to see all this go. — Belinda Reeves

THE CREW: Belinda, Claire, Kathy and Gail are serv­ing last cup­pas. PHOTO: TREVOR VEALE

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