‘Heartbreaking’ burglary at Ostend cafe
Waiheke cafe owners Willow Rowntree and Janice Smyth were hit hard by a burglary on Waitangi Day.
Thieves broke into Timbuktu Nomadic Deli in Ostend between 12pm on February 6 and 7am the next morning, taking almost $1000 in cash.
While the cafe is insured, the excess is $1000, so the fledgling business has to cope with the loss without an insurance payout, Rowntree said.
‘‘I cried. We’re tracking well but we haven’t got to the point we’re making a profit, so something like this hurts so much,’’ Rowntree said.
Burglars appear to have entered the cafe by breaking an aluminium window frame and also broke a storeroom lock, before stealing cash.
The business launched two years ago, but was struggling before Smyth became Rowntree’s business partner about six months ago.
The two owners sometimes work seven days a week, running the cafe, selling healthy dinners to take away, catering for weddings and events, and setting up gourmet picnics.
Appreciative feedback has helped Rowntree and Smyth feel confident their cooking, which includes vegan, gluten free and paleo options, is hitting the right note with the community.
‘‘We’re putting everything in and hoping it will pay off.
‘‘We’ve been feeling so good about the business, but something like this is hard on you emotionally when you’ve been working so hard,’’ Rowntree said.
An influx of customers turned up straight after the burglary to ‘‘buy an extra coffee’’.
‘‘The community has been amazing.
‘‘It was very reaffirming for us in the face of feeling so gutted to have all that love and support coming in.
‘‘It helps you get back on your feet,’’ Rowntree said.
An evening event, with DJS playing at the cafe, is planned on March 10 to helped recover the stolen cash.
Determined to find the positive in adversity, the owners have taken the burglary as a ‘‘wake-up’’ call to improve security, Smyth said.
Waiheke Sergeant Martin Felton said police are keen to hear from anyone who might have information about the burglary.
‘‘The only way we’re going to get anything back is by finding the culprit,’’ Rowntree said.