1493194822653 - Gorge closure won’t shut the Bridge Cafe and gift shop

Gorge closure won’t shut the Bridge Cafe and gift shop

During school holidays, the Bridge Cafe is normally a thriving spot full of people stopping off for a cuppa and a sandwich.

But, most of the tables are now empty and instead of crowds gathering to wile away the hours in the sun outside, only a handful of people sip their drinks.

The latest slips to block State Highway 3 through the Manawatu Gorge have left the cafe’s owner Rebecca Algie shaking her head.

Nestled away on Gorge Rd, on the Woodville side of the ranges, the cafe relies on passing traffic on the busy route.

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Closure also brings another problem, as people don’t know they can still get to the cafe, which is still open for business.

“It’s school holidays at the moment and if the gorge was open now, it would be hard to find a seat, so it obviouslys affects us,” Algie said.

She bought the business just before the massive 2011 slips that closed the gorge for 14 months.

When that happened, she shut the cafe for nine months, as business dropped away.

“We want to make people aware we are still open,” she said on Wednesday.

Rhys Punler, who owns a gift shop at The Bridge Cafe, said his wife told him the road was closed.

He has owned the shop for 2 1/2 years and said he felt they should be better informed about the closures, as it affected them heavily.

Roading authorities hadn’t been in touch about the slip or the condition of the road, he said.

“We have to make business decisions.”

Just before the slip, he ordered $1500 worth of stock, which he expected to clear by the end of May. “I’m not going to be able to do that now.”

The pair said they didn’t want to whinge, and were appreciative of the work done to clear the slips and get the road back in shape.

But, while that was happening, they wanted to encourage people to still make the journey to their businesses.

“Our main focus is [to tell people] we are still here,” Algie said.

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