Julians Berry Farm and Café in Whakatane has been placed on the market for sale as a going concern as its owners seek a change of lifestyle after 20 years at the helm.

Zoned “Deferred Residential”, the land, buildings, home and business are located on 10.79 hectares in Huna Road, just off State Highway 30, around four kilometres from Whakatane’s CBD.

Founded by Joan and David Julian in 1975 in nearby Shaw Road, growth of the business dictated a move to the current site, and subsequent change of ownership to their son Paul and his wife, Monica, in the late-1990s.

The award-winning multi-faceted seasonal operation has built-in upside given identified new business revenue streams and some underutilised portions of land.

Currently, virtually all of the berries grown on the property are sold at the gate – either as pick-your-own produce or via the onsite retail outlet, both in their natural state and in add-value products such as preserves and icecream. There are no formalised external supply contracts in place, although surplus berries are supplied to the Tauranga markets at wholesale rates when supply allows.

Rhys Mischefski and Larissa Reid of Bayleys Whakatane are marketing the property and full going-concern business for sale and say the business brand is well-known and respected. The property is being marketed for sale by tender, with tenders closing on April 29. It features in Bayleys’ latest Total Property portfolio magazine.

“As the intellectual property forms part of the sale, a new owner can leverage off the established track record and status that the name has in the market to take the business even further.”

“Local supermarkets and stores are often being asked if they stock Julians’ berries, so there are untapped avenues for a new owner to explore, along with possible additional plantings to meet commercial demand.”

Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries and Ranui berries are sold fresh in-season from the farm gate, with cranberries, gooseberries, redcurrants and blackcurrants available in frozen form.

Mischefski says while the existing business model works very well, berries could be grown in tunnels to extend the limited season and reduce weather disruption to crops.

The berry farm and associated on-site café and activities are open during the day from late-September to early-February.

Amenities and recreational facilities include a child-friendly café with outdoor seating for 250 people, a playground, basketball half-court, animal petting farm, soccer area, 18-hole mini-golf course, and beach volleyball court.

“When considering future growth opportunities, the café and recreational side of the business operation could trade year-round as the infrastructure is already in place for this,” says Reid.

“Likewise, evening trade could be explored, along with a liquor licence to expand the hospitality offering to functions and weddings.

“Elements of the existing operation – like the animal farm – could be expanded upon and entry charges made, and other recreational activities such as a maze or water park could be considered.”

The scope of the berry farm’s retail outlet could also be widened, bringing in other producers to create a destination artisan food village, and large cool storage facilities could be built on the well-positioned land.

Mischefski says a forward-thinking new owner will recognise the intrinsic expansion opportunities or redevelopment possibilities for the land.

“Given the “Deferred Residential” zoning, a potential future subdivision of the more-than 10-hectare landholding for some residential use – feasibly, around 100 residential lots – will resonate with investors and developers.”