July 22, 2024

Taylor Daily Press

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Fairley (40 years old) leaves his job as a café owner after seven years: “My doctor advised me a year ago to look for another job.”

Fairley (40 years old) leaves his job as a café owner after seven years: “My doctor advised me a year ago to look for another job.”

At the end of this month, Veerle Verleye (40 years old) will close the door of the Tonneke café in Machelen (Zulte) permanently. She has run the village café for seven years, but that business is now up for sale. No buyer yet. “I’ll especially miss the atmosphere with the customers,” says Fairley, who is trading café life for a new job.

Veerle took over Café Tonneke at the beginning of 2017 with her then-partner. “It was actually his dream to run a café,” Fairley says. “I’ve worked in catering since I was 15, but always as a side job or as a flexible job. It was a big step to fully commit to the café, but I certainly don’t regret it.

“When my ex and I broke up in 2019, I continued on my own with Toniki. I wanted to persevere and show them that they wouldn’t let me down. Thanks to the flexible jobs needed, I was able to put my plan in place. I used to run a café full-time and love connecting with customers.

“Sugar traps due to stress”

“Although I have noticed a change since the Corona crisis. People still care about their money more than before. Conversations at the bar often revolve around how expensive life is. A visit to a café is often the first thing people skip, preferring it to a meal at a restaurant or a summer vacation.

“I am also suffering with my health. My back hurts and I have diabetes, even though I am not diabetic. According to the doctor, the reason is stress and irregular working hours. He already advised me a year ago to look for another job, but I still want to continue.

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Billiards Café

“Until I recently received a nice job offer. I thought about it a lot, but I couldn’t pass it up. I accepted it, and now I’ve been integrating my new job with Tonneke for over a month. This is very hectic and the moving pressure is gradually starting to subside. I usually stay open until End of May, then it’s over. I’ve already told the regular customers the news and most of them have understood that Tonneke is also a pool cafe, we have eight permanent teams here they have now had to find another home or they are no longer there unfortunately.

“I will miss it, especially the atmosphere with the customers. It’s always fun when the pool players last until 4 o’clock. The part I won’t miss is that I have to come back at 7 a.m. to reopen the café. I hope Tonneke will be taken over. The building is for sale now, “So its future is uncertain. It would be a shame for a cafe to disappear in the village.”