Staff – past & present

Astoria ex staff – Where are they now?

In the 20 years that Astoria has been open we have employed 604 staff.

Many talented people have worked for us during this time. After leaving Astoria they have gone on to finish university study, work in amazing jobs, travel and have families. Some have even opened their own restaurant or cafe.

We thought it would be great to track down as many former Astoria staff as possible to find out where they are now and, more importantly, who they are now.

Over the following months we will be featuring many of these staff on our blog along  with photos from back then and more recently.

We thought we would start with two of our original staff.

Sarah Griffiths was a Shift Manager at Astoria when we opened the doors in January 1996. She then worked as our Administrator for 5 years, stoking the engine at Astoria. While working in this role she would spend every lunch service as our glassie. In fact she was the “Queen of glassie” for quite a number of years.

Corrie de Vries was one of our talented Baristas. She fortified Janice and Sue with coffee each morning, and jolly good it was too.



Name; Sarah Griffiths
Age; 52

23 January 1996 – 2003

Position; Counter / glassie / office administrator / panforte wrapper / late night karaoke partner / nursey / xmas party planner / MADGE

Where are you now?  

 What do you do now work-wise?
Company Manager for the English National Ballet

 Tell us something interesting about yourself;
I once had a job touring New Zealand performing as Minnie Mouse.

Do you have a funny story from your Astoria days or memory that you would like to share?

Many happy hours sat at Sue and Janice’s “special” table over egg and bacon rolls or wines at the end of the week

The time we had to fetch a staff member back from The Feathers pokies machines – he said he’d popped out the the bank. The Bank of Feathers??

Or the time a staff member said  “I am just going down to my locker” never to be seen again as they got deported!

 Birthday greeting;

 Happy Birthday Astoria – I can’t believe you are 20 already!  Well yes indeed I remember when Sue and Janice were opening Astoria and the man from the computer shop next door said something along the lines of “You girls will need to sell a lot of coffees to last” … well I guess you have – coffee and so much more – a splash of class and colour at the business end of Lambton Quay.


corrie and greta

Name; Corrie de Vries
(pictured left with her son Blake and another former Astorian Greta)

Age; 39…I know can you believe it!!

When did you work at Astoria and for how long? 

From the beginning when Astoria was born, I think I was 18, the baby at the time!! until March 2000.

What position were you employed in?

Barista, me and Sam were the A team!

Where are you now?  

After living in London for 11 years I now live just outside Bristol, in the South West of the UK, North Somerset to be exact! Yes, last of the Summer Wine…..

What do you do now work-wise?

Account Director at a Marketing agency working with blue chip companies.

Tell us something interesting about yourself;

Hmmmm not so much interesting, but I now have a little boy who’s just about to start school, I’m a very proud mum!

Do you have a funny story from your Astoria days or memory that you would like to share?

The day that Sam leapt over a table to rescue a lady’s handbag which had been nicked by a thug from one of the outside tables?

Or when a now very famous NZ chef who got angry with me because I dissed Neil Diamond and he shut me in the chiller?!

Or the legendary parties that always ended with a midnight meet for dancing at Barney’s nightclub?!

Or my lovely Italian customer who came in every day and would give me nice gifts. I have a photo of me and Sam with her in front of the first Astoria coffee roaster.

Birthday greeting;

Happy happy birthday to a Wellington legend and to the two extraordinary ladies at the helm X

And here they both are way back then – photos from Astoria staff parties, mostly with a dress-up theme – in case you are wondering.

Janice Kirkwood and Sarah Griffiths
We are liking that kaftan Sarah
Corrie – looks like trouble
Sarah dressed as a Christmas tree, her all-time best party costume, with Sue and Janice. From memory the staff dinner at that Christmas party was by Ruth Pretty Catering  – the staff loved it.


Help us spread the word. If you know any former staff, get them to contact we can then feature them on the blog.


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