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Former businesswoman of year plans Fendalton cafe

Media release – January 9, 2005

Former businesswoman of the year has sights on Fendalton community cafe

Former Canterbury business woman of the year Gill Burrell has her sights on providing Fendalton with a better community feel with the proposed opening of her new café in 2006.

Burrell plans to open a café on the corner of Fendalton Rd and Jackson St and she believes it will bring the community together.

``You find with suburban cafes they become meeting points and places for everyone to get together.

Burrell used to own eight Paddington pres-schools in Christchurch but sold them 18 months ago.

She has kept all the land and buildings that Paddington's operated from including the main administration, commercial kitchens etc in Colombo St.

The 2002 Her Business NZ Woman of the Year award winner said her 2006 goals was to develop the Fendalton cafe.

``Fendalton is lacking in this type meeting place and people who live there, are always having to go elsewhere to have a coffee and chat.

``There is a real need in communities for a meeting place that everyone enjoys to meet and relax together.

``These facilities always add to the communities living environment and people are choosing to live closer to cafes and parks as it enhances their lives to have these facilities in close proximity.

``Our communities are now starting to feel the loneliness of living busy lives working all week and not having the local shops and community halls and facilities available to develop a community spirit anymore or to get to meet the neighbours.

``That's why I think that we are seeing so many successful cafes in neighbourhoods. They help people to socialise without having to get in the car and go to a lot of trouble.’’

A Christchurch City Council resource consent hearing will consider the café application in April next year.

Burrell is a board member of St Margaret's College and she is also involved with the Burwood Academy of Independent Living.

She now works from home and loves the ease of walking into her home office and organises her days into workdays and play days.

``For me the years of discipline of growing a business are still with me and I work best with a routine and a large list to get through each day. I have built up new responsibilities and am more involved in offering advice and guidance to business people.

I really enjoy the diversity that my life offers me and I wouldn’t want to turn the clock back. Paddington’s pres-school business was and always will be a huge part of my life.’’

Burrell started Paddington's in 1986 with a staff of three including herself, working as an unpaid owner who also worked full time as a dental nurse.

It grew to nine pres-schools around Christchurch, employing 100 staff. Burrell found the best way to run the pre-schools was by her heart, not her head.

``I treated people as I like to be treated, I expect the best from everyone of my staff and we have no hierarchal systems. Apart from that, I just get out there and do it.’’

Education is still her passion but by selling the business and retaining the properties she feels she still has some involvement with the business.

Too many business people only see their value as a person in relation to their business or work success, she said.

``If you ever wish to exit your business there needs to be other things in your life.’’


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