Rent cripples city cake shop

12:09, Feb 05 2009

Soaring rents have forced Wellington's oldest cake shop to close.

Since 1930 Dorothy's has served treats and hot drinks to the sweet-toothed in Cuba St, but its latest owner can no longer afford to keep it going.

For much of its long life, the shop named after Dorothy West, who ran several cake shops in the city was owned and operated by the Roods, who for generations had cake shops in Holland.

Henk and Mineke Rood bought Dorothy's from its original owners in 1957 and ran it for 35 years, till Henk's son, Robert, and his wife, Jacqueline, took over.

When they leased it to Mike and Liz Ross in 2002, they charged $18,000 a year in rent. Three months later, the rent doubled as the Roods prepared to sell the building, which was bought by Young Family Investments later that year..

Mr and Mrs Ross could not keep up with the inflated costs and reluctantly gave up the business in 2004.

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Murray Thessman took over the lease from the Ross family, at a rent of $53,000 a year, and it has risen to more than $85,000 plus gst.

Mr Thessman said he was still weighing up his options. "I've been working 16 or 17-hour days for the last three months, so I'll be taking a rest and thinking about what to do next."

He would miss his customers, who were the best part of the job.

Gin Young, co-director of Young Family Investments, said he had done what he could to persuade Mr Thessman to stay, offering him what he considered a reasonable reduction in rent.

"Any business needs to move on with the times, and this particular business has not kept up," he said.

Brendan Clegg of CBD Realty said it was not unusual in retail property to get a 100 per cent increase over five or six years.

"All rents peak and trough and, in retail, that's more exaggerated than for office space."

 

The Dominion Post