By SHELLEY TOPP
A former music teacher who wanted to own a cafe is living her dream as owner of Rangiora’s Soda Cafe and Bar.
Closing the cafe during the Covid-19 level-four lockdown was hard, but Rangiora’s Lynda Cox is enjoying being able to welcome customers back again under alert level 2.
Before buying the cafe, Lynda was a music teacher and semi-professional musician in Britain for 14 years. She moved to New Zealand 16 years ago with her husband, Jeremy, to further his career.
“I was born and lived my whole United Kingdom life in Luton, Bedfordshire, about 48km north of London,” Lynda says.
Owning a cafe had been a lifetime dream but study, work and then family got in the way. After moving to New Zealand, Lynda was a stay-at-home mum.
“I spent a lot of time volunteering for KartSport Canterbury as a race official and the club secretary, and assisting my husband’s business in an administrative role,” she says.
However, on her 50th birthday, in December 2015, Lynda decided it was time to pursue her cafe dream and in early 2016 the couple bought Soda Cafe in Kingsford Smith Drive.
“For the first 2Soda I worked seven days a week, a minimum of 12 hours a day. Eighteen months ago we decided to close on Mondays to give me a day off a week, although I don’t always achieve this with catering commitments etc. “I now work an average of 80 hours a week and love every minute of it.”
Lynda loves cooking and says the challenge of running a commercial kitchen and filling the food cabinet single-handed is amazing.
“Seeing people enjoy my food and receiving positive feedback absolutely makes all the hard work worth it.”
Lynda also enjoys the challenge of owning her own business and learning something new about herself every day.
“I have no formal training, just years of experimentation, passion and it helps that I love eating delicious food,” she says.
A selection of gluten-free cabinet food is a strong point of difference for Soda Cafe.
“We have regular customers travelling in weekly from Christchurch, Rolleston, New Brighton and all over the place for our gluten-free baking, especially our gluten-free donuts.
“Our pies and burgers are also crowd-pleasers. I make everything in house. Quality control, consistency, and baking in small batches to ensure our food is fresh are my top priorities.”