'Coffee genius' starts new venture

19:52, Mar 03 2014
REFRESHING CHANGE: Derek Henry, left, and Lester Ferdinand outside Squire's Cafe in Stoke which the pair have recently taken over as owner-operators.

Barista extraordinaire Derek Henry has set up shop at Squires in Stoke.

The creative coffee genius has worked at Nelson cafes Lambrettas, Zumo and Red Gallery. Now, together Lester Ferdinand, he is the new owner of Squires cafe and bar in what he describes as "up and coming" Main Rd Stoke.

Mr Ferdinand said their first week had so far been all go, go, go.

"It has been stressful to say the very least."

But it was all worth it seeing as they could be in such a lovely location.

"Stoke is definitely up and coming. You can definitely see an influx of new blood in the area.


"It is perfect because it is stuck between Richmond and Nelson, people are starting to realise that it is geographically really convenient.

"We just walked in, walked out. There is the same staff, just two new owners. We are going to run it for the next few months and see what we want to do.

"We will just fill in the gaps as we go."

And while he certainly had a lot to learn, making coffee under Mr Henry being one of them, he was excited to embark on a new journey or as he joked, "an ordeal by fire".

The financial half and "general dogsbody" said he wanted to try a change of lifestyle and working with his friend of four years at a great location surrounded by great people seemed the perfect opportunity.

"I suppose my partner's lack of experience was the only issue," he said.

Sarcasm aside, Mr Henry was very experienced, having worked at Lambrettas for nine and a half years before moving to Zumo, then to Red Gallery.

"It was time for a change, I suppose," Mr Henry said.

He wanted to own his own business for a long time, he just had to find the right "fit", he said.

"The reality is the rent in Nelson is just so expensive."

But he was sad to leave the Red Gallery, saying in any environment one makes "meaningful and memorable friendships with people."

He could only hope some of his loyal customers would follow him to the "up and coming area".

While he had plans to eventually revamp the cafe in the upcoming months, he wanted to stay true to Squires' current loyal customers.

"You have to be careful. There are a lot of really loyal customers here and you don't want to cause too much of a fuss and yet you want to be able to put your own stamp on things.