Brothers pass baton and bar

20:44, Jul 22 2014
 Marlborough principals
CHANGING HANDS: : Brothers Hamish Thomas, left, and Tim Thomas, right, have sold Scotch Wine Bar to Ritual Cafe co-owner Dan Gillett, centre, after five years of owning the business.

Brothers Hamish and Tim Thomas have sold Scotch Wine Bar in Blenheim to focus on their Thomas's Department Store and family life.

They have passed the baton to Ritual Cafe co-owner Dan Gillett, who has bought the business with Charlie Chilwell, a friend who lives on the Coromandel Peninsula.

Gillett and Chilwell take over on August 1.

Hamish Thomas said that after five years of running the business, it was time for them to sell.

"Like any business, there is always a time when you are going to move on, and it came a bit soon but it's been good."

Tim Thomas said they would focus on their clothing store and their families.


"It was always our intention, once we got the business up and running, to pass it on at some stage . . . We both have other business interests and we just felt the time was right."

Tim Thomas said the business had not been put on the market but when Gillett approached them about six weeks ago, they agreed to sell.

"For us it was a good fit . . . when we eventually wanted to sell, we wanted it to be to someone local. It's nice to know it's been passed into the right hands."

Tim Thomas felt there was a "synergy" between Ritual Cafe and Scotch Wine Bar.

Gillett is "hugely excited" about buying the business and sees it as a great opportunity.

The sale had been six weeks "in the works" but the final decision was very last-minute, he said.

"I'm really looking forward to it. The intention is to grow it and improve on the product and service . . . they will all be gradual changes.

"I will be operating it and I will go in and see what's working and what's not, and go from there."

Chilwell would be back and forth, but Gillett would be running the "day-to-day business", as well as still working at Ritual Cafe with co-owners Matt Hellriegel and Hellriegel's mum, Heather McAlpine.

He would split his time between Scotch and Ritual, he said.

Staff could be reassured they would keep their jobs.

"I'm going to take them all on and I'm hoping with growing it over time there will be more jobs in the future."

The Marlborough Express