Morri Street Café owner Kay Field is selling her business after 21 years at the helm. Photo: Kate Russell.

Moving on from Morri Street

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An iconic Nelson café is up for sale for the first time in its 21-year history.

Morri Street Café has long been a popular coffee spot for Nelsonians, but owner Kay Field has decided it’s time to move on.

“After 21 years, I want to do something else. I’m ready.”

Morrison Square was previously owned by Kay’s family, where her brother operated a garden centre.

She started out in 1997 as a catering business around where Aki Sushi is today, but she says it wasn’t long until the coffee and café took over.

She spent a year in that space before moving to the current premises on Hardy St.

“It was quite funny … back then people told me, ‘the last thing Nelson needs is another café’.”

Kay says things have certainly changed in the café industry since they first opened.

“In 1997 there was no such thing of gluten-free, chia and quinoa.”

In 2015, Kay rebranded the business from Morrison Street Café to Morri Street Café and refurbished the premises.

But some things have stayed the same, including their coffee supplier – Atomic Coffee – and their loyal customer base.

She employs around 14 staff, whom Kay says are the backbone of the café, helping to maintain its great reputation in Nelson over the years.

“I have the best front of house manager, Jessica Shin, and the best head chef, Baydon Fowlie.”

In 2004 they were the runner-up in Michael Guy’s best café competition and she has even published two cook books.

The sustainable café recycles most of their waste, donates used coffee grinds for soil conditioner, gives food waste to a local pig farmer and were the first solar café in the region.

They also support many local events, schools and charities and donate excess fresh baking daily to the Nelson community food bank.

Kay, who was born and bred in Nelson says she will stay in the region and has another business idea in the concept phase.

She says it will be strange feeling letting go of Morri Street.

“It’s kind of like my first born. I’d like to see a young couple take it over and take it to the next level and hopefully keep it going for another 21 years.”