Cafe owner happy to 'come home'

TESS MCCLURE
Last updated 05:00 15/01/2014

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For cafe owner Crystal Jang, it was three long years before she could "come home" to her earthquake damaged business.

Jang had run the Cathedral Junction cafe, Seasons, since 2005.

"Then we had the earthquakes, and we shut down. All over Christchurch, places were empty," she says.

Jang was working at Seasons in February 2011 when the earthquake hit.

As glassware and crockery fell from the shelves and smashed, she tried to usher customers out of the store, and slipped, injuring her leg. It took several months of rehabilitation and physio, she says, before her leg healed.

Once she was back on her feet, every week she would walk through the city to see what changed and check on her old shop premises.

On her walks through the city, she says "I felt a wee bit flat, like, what can I do? Can I go back to this?"

But after three years of waiting for repairs, the cafe was able to re-open on Monday, and Jang says she is "so excited" to be back.

Jang says she "never thought about leaving," and just wanted to get back to business as usual.

Since opening, it has been busier than she expected. Some regulars have returned, and the tramline brings tourists into the junction.

"I was surprised, even though yesterday was our first day back, people came in to say, ‘welcome back into the city'."

While extensive repairs and refurbishment have been done on the building, Jang says she has tried to keep the cafe as close as possible to its original design.

"I tried my best to keep it looking the same as three years ago, because in the city so much has gone, nothing is the same," Jang says.

"I want people to feel like they are coming home."

Now, she and her staff of three are happy simply to be there.

"I feel like I've been here the whole time. It's like the closed time never happened. I'm so happy to come back."

Cathedral Junction has two more restaurants due to open up in the coming months.

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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