Melody Teh

Retirement Life

Senior sisters open their own café in retirement

Senior sisters open their own café in retirement

Stepping into Sue Wright and Nicky Brindle’s Greytown café is like walking into the stylish living room of a long lost friend. The two sisters, who have a combined hospitality experience of over 120 years, are warm and inviting, much like the light and airy contemporary surroundings of their café “2 Short Whites”… the name a humorous play on their stature and a nod to their hair colour.

The café located in the The Hub’ a new retail development in the centre of Greytown, a pretty colonial village only one hour’s drive from Wellington, is the latest chapter in the varied and interesting working lives of these two dynamic sisters.

“We tried retiring but to be honest got bored,” laughs Nicky. “We realised at this age no one else was going to employ us, so we decided to employ ourselves.”

Nicky and Sue have boundless energy and have been behind several well-known businesses in New Zealand’s Wairarapa region over the years.

Nicky is Le Cordon Bleu trained andused to own Masterton based wedding venue and catering company Toad’s Landing while Sue along with husband Andrew established the Mela fruit juice brand, which is now run by her daughter Sarah and son in law Brian Belluomini. The couple were also involved in the award-winning Lighthouse Gin and Sue owned the popular, funky giftware store Mondo for almost 10 years.

“Nicky and I did our own thing for years then decided to come together and set up this café and restaurant. We’re both serious about food and great hospitality so it was a bit of a no-brainer,” says Sue.

"We came along, two old ladies, and gave The Hub developer Steve Pilbrow our concept for a café … and he loved it. We want people to feel welcome here and enjoy our menu which offers seasonal, rustic and wholesome food.”

The smell of freshly baked bread, which is fermented for 24 hours, greets visitors and depending what time of day free-range bacon can be smelt cooking. There is a terrific range of baking and sweet treats to tempt all ages while the sister’s range of preserves are neatly displayed on colourful shelves.

Since opening their doors, Nicky and Sue have run cooking classes, such as bread-making; had themed dinner evenings and even played Fairy Godmother running a series of successful Singles Dinners (for ages 35 years to 50 years and for the 50-plus years) for those looking for love and friendship.

“We were directors of the night serving up an incredible two-course meal and helping make introductions between people. We wanted them to come here, feel relaxed and enjoy great company, great wine and great food,” says Sue. “We all know that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach!”

Unfortunately, 2 Flat Whites is no longer in business. The cafe has since changed hands and is now known as Brasserie 74.

Have you started your own business in retirement? Share your experience with us in the comments below.

For more information about 2 Short Whites or the Wairarapa visit,