Bearded Cactus cafe in East Maitland to close in April

Coffee connoisseur: Leah Jaunalksnis in May 2015, shortly after the business opened. Its last day of trade after more than two years in East Maitland will be April 2. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
Coffee connoisseur: Leah Jaunalksnis in May 2015, shortly after the business opened. Its last day of trade after more than two years in East Maitland will be April 2. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

THE owner of East Maitland institution The Bearded Cactus is closing the cafe to “refocus and realign”.

Leah Jaunalksnis told the Herald the business’ last day of trade would be April 2.

“In a nutshell it’s been a very big journey and learning curve in the past two and a half years, so I just need to refocus and realign the important things in life. Who know what the future holds.”

Ms Jaunalksnis delivered the “heartbreaking news” to her business’ more than 4200 Facebook fans in a post on Saturday night, which was met with an avalanche of sadness and support.

“Everything is okay, it's just the end of our season as The Cactus,” Ms Jaunalksnis replied to one comment.

“You must be proud - you changed coffee culture in this area,” Elizabeth Christo wrote on the page. “From a foodie Melbournite so I should know! Go well!”

The business started as a mobile coffee van on the New England Highway in January 2015 and moved to Victoria Street railway station in November that year. It has been in Day Street since November last year.