The Village Cafe in Murrumbateman has officially changed owners and will now be known as Cafe 3: Sixteen.

The Taffe family are the new owners of the Hercules Street café, and Gary Taffe was thrilled with the initial response from the community over the weekend.

“It’s fantastic. Really, really, really good. The locals are well behind it.”

“It’s a great opportunity for me and the girls, me and the family,” he said.

The Village Café has been only opened on weekdays in recent times. The desire for a local, weekend coffee sparked the Taffe family’s decision to purchase the café.

“We’ve never done anything like this. I manage two businesses in Canberra and my wife is head of finance where she works in Canberra. To be honest we were just sick of not being able to reach out and get a coffee in the town where we’re at. So, I thought the only way to solve that is to buy the thing.”

“Honestly I underestimated the community and the response they’d give. It never stopped and we had zero pies left, zero rolls left and zero sandwich’s left. We had nothing,” said Gary.

While there is an obvious financial gain to be had, Gary said his family have enjoyed feeling like an essential part of the community.

“It’s a financial gain as well, but it’s a great way to be an essential point of the community,” he said.

The mantra for their business focuses on the community they serve.

“If we set out to serve the community, the rest will fall into place,” said Gary.

Daughter Mya, whose been working at the café already for three years, will assume much of the day-to-day management duties for the time being. The café will be open at 7:00 am on weekdays for this week, but will move to a 6:00 am open from then on. It will close at 4:30 pm, but that time will likely be extended in the summer months. On Saturdays it will be open from 7:00 am to 4:00 pm, and on Sundays from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm.

Café 3: Sixteen will sell a number of different products over the next few weeks as they test different things, in the hope of discovering exactly what the people of Murrumbateman are after.

Gary also revealed future plans for a small wine bar in Murrumbateman. However, he remained tight-lipped on a potential location, despite being confident it would be open to the public before the end of 2022.

Outgoing Owner of the café Emma Witham said,

“As most people are now aware I have passed The Village Cafe on to new owners. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in the shop. I have enjoyed all the great times and especially the laughs. Never before have I worked somewhere that I really loved and laughed so much. I have met some wonderful people, staff and customers, that I am now so pleased to call my friends. I would like to thank the Murrumbateman community for supporting us for the last 5 years, especially through the covid times. We could never have got through it without all your support. I would really like to thank all the staff who have put up with me all these years. We wish Mya and her family all the best and can’t wait to see what they do with the Cafe. Very exciting times ahead for Murrumbateman and the Taffe family. Thank you all, Emma,”

Emma served the Murrumbateman community and surrounds for five years, and did an excellent job in the role. She leaves behind a legacy that the Taffe’s will hopefully be able to build on for many years to come.

Max O’Driscoll