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New beginnings at TenCC

Masterton’s iconic Ten O’clock Cookie Bakery and Cafe [TenCC] quietly changed hands on April 29, and now the new owners are gearing up to celebrate the transition in conjunction with ringing in the Māori New Year.

The food outlet had been owned by John and Anneke Kloeg since 1988, and several years ago the couple began thinking about retiring and taking the opportunity to enjoy life outside of work, including some travelling – although it’s likely John will also do some volunteering for St John’s.

A big plus when making the decision to sell up was being able to keep the business in the family, thanks to the enthusiasm of daughter Monique, who was already serving as TenCC’s general manager, and son Tim, who owns Wellington Refrigeration Ltd.

“Mum and Dad owned the business since the year I was born, so it’s been part of my entire life,” Tim told the Times-Age.

“We grew up in the business – we’d be packing buns before school and washing dishes after,” Monique laughingly agreed.

“I started working at TenCC when I was 11 years old and got paid $1.50 an hour. And yip, I got taxed on that, too! Every week I’d take my $11.47 cheque to the bank …”

Monique sees taking over the business as a “natural progression” that dovetails with her involvement in the Masterton community as a board member of the Masterton Trust Lands Trust, Business Wairarapa, Masterton’s new business association Tupu Ana, and the Wairarapa Wahine Toa women’s rugby team.

“TenCC is also a community, a place where people connect, catch up with friends, have business meetings, and bump into people they haven’t seen in ages – it’s a hub,” she said.

“It’s really special, what our parents have created, and it’s a real privilege to carry it on.”

Tim concurs, noting how “passionate about this community” his sister is and adding how happy he is to support her as she directs the day to day operations and TenCC’s 53 staff.

Taking over the ownership needed to be a package deal, the pair agree, because although he built the bakery’s walk-in chiller and freezer and also services all our refrigeration machinery, “I’m not a baker, so taking a position in the business was only realistic if Monique was in it too,” Tim said, while Monique sees the different perspective her brother brings as invaluable.

Asked whether they are considering introducing any innovations to the business or taking more of a ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ approach, Monique responded with a cheerfully cryptic “watch this space”.

“Maintaining what Mum and Dad have done really well is very important to us,” Tim said, before adding that this doesn’t mean that customers shouldn’t expect any changes.

“Dad was a real innovator who was always trying out new things, so not changing anything wouldn’t be honouring that.

“We’ll definitely be looking for any improvements we can make; we can’t let things get stagnant.”

This desire to honour the past while creating new traditions is evident in the way the pair will be celebrating TenCC’s new ownership next week in the lead up to Matariki [Māori New Year] on Friday, June 28.

“We’re marking the new ownership by acknowledging our Dutch heritage and Matariki,” Monique said.

“On New Year’s Eve in the Netherlands, they make what’s called oliebollen, which roughly translates to ‘oil ball’ and is actually quite similar to fried bread.

So to celebrate new beginnings, as well as honour the past, all next week we’ll be selling oliebollen – and on Friday, there’ll be a free oliebollen served with every coffee bought.”

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