Meet Sarah Uhl / Okere Falls Store
Sarah’s been living in Ōkere Falls “forever”.
“I first passed through Ōkere Falls in the late 1980’s, with no conscious intention of living here and remember thinking it was an amazing place. It’s funny to say that now this is my home for me and my family. I feel so lucky to have become part of this awesome community; I also believe I will never leave”.
Following her passion for the outdoors Sarah secured a job in the area on the Kaituna River in the early 90s as the first female raft guide. Then not satisfied with that to keep her busy she saw a gap in the hospitality industry. She set up a number of café businesses in the Rotorua area before re-establishing the derelict Ōkere Falls Store in an old petrol station in 2005.
“Our vision at Ōkere Falls Store is to offer good food and coffee and at the same time take great care of our community and the environment”.
The Ōkere Falls Store has won the Westpac Rotorua Business Awards in 2013 (taking out the supreme award) and featured in numerous printed publications and TV cooking shows over the years.
The store has made waves with their unwavering approach to sustainability, don’t expect to find any Coca-Cola, plastic straws or single-use plastic packaging here. The Ōkere Falls Store team are big on walking the talk when it comes to giving our environment a helping hand. On offer are traditional treats like lasagne and gourmet sausage rolls alongside gluten free, raw, vegetarian and vegan options. Everyone’s food needs can be met.
Ōkere Falls Store also has key grocery items – get your milk, butter, cheese, sausages, canned goods or cleaning products here.
The beer garden out the back makes for a tucked away place to enjoy a cold one, alongside imported German beers from a 700 year old Bavarian brewery there are also plenty of good New Zealand craft beers to try.
“Most recently we have been challenged by the COVID-19 issue. While there is no easy solution, I believe that collaboration of businesses is the answer for the future of both successful businesses and livelihood in our community. It was the answer before this crisis but most of us were too busy or too scared to give it a go. So here we are finally working together more than ever in Ōkere Falls to show everyone out there in New Zealand what I saw in the late 1980’s. Come and experience awesome activities and genuine hospitality, you will be invigorated.”
You can see current Ōkere Falls Store menu (as of June 2020) by clicking here, but keep in mind that it can change seasonally. The Store’s website can be found here: okerefallsstore.co.nz