T.O.A.D Hall Store & Cafe
Hodgson visits T.O.A.D Hall, an old church with quite a history, located right on the Great Taste Trail, at the southern end of the town of Motueka. T.O.A.D Hall has become a popular meeting place for friends to enjoy coffee and great food.
Ange Morris has owned T.O.A.D. Hall with her husband Hamish Fletcher (not the legal beagle one) since 2007 and has turned it into a very popular destination. As well as now having a brewery beside the café they are about to open the Tap Room, a place you can buy local wines and Townshend Brewery beers to take home with you.
The business has grown to the stage where Ange says they used to do everything themselves but now occasionally need to bring in specialists for different projects because they just don’t have time. She say running the business “is like conducting an orchestra, we went from one part time employee when we purchased the business ten years ago to about 55 full time last summer and probably 60 this summer. For centuries the space that is now T.O.A.D Hall has also had a public function as a meeting place for the community to get together, “I understand the current site was a meeting place when the waka’s used to come in and goods were traded and now we have lots of people who use the café as a meeting place, from mums and kids to business people looking for some space out of the office.”
From the original hall Ange & Hamish have extended the courtyard, paved it, added a deck area and now a brewery, “Martin has built his new brewery and we love having him there, he is doing his thing we are doing our thing and we have a nice sunny courtyard between the businesses.”
But even as the business has grown over the years Ange recognises that a big part of the richness of what they have to offer is the crew, “some of our staff worked part time when they were at school and now work fulltime, they are making hospitality a career not just something to do. They are really passionate about the place and what we do, some have been working here for most of the time we have owned it.
“They are as much a part of the business and vision as we are, some now have families of their own, many local kids from within the Motueka community have worked here throughout the years gaining confidence & skills to take with them as they go out into the working world.
Ange told me everything that the crew at TOAD Hall does has to be in keeping with the vision she and Hamish have – that they are supporting their people, their community & their planet in a sustainable way. T.O.A.D Hall is still evolving and growing, adding to the richness of the visitor experience in this wonderful region as well as being an important part of the community in Motueka.
Thanks to Neil Hodgson for permission to use this article, first published 15/11/17