Owners of an independent cafe moving into the new Chester Bus Interchange have praised the council for backing local business.
Andy and Jaci Delooze, of Barista’s, Watergate Street, will soon open their second outlet by the entrance to the new bus station after beating national brands in the tendering competition run by Cheshire West and Chester Council .
Station News, another independent firm, was backed to launch the newsagent opposite.
Andy said: “I know there has been a lot of criticism of the new bus station in its short life. But the council made a stand and decided they wanted to support local businesses, so for once I think they should get credit for that.”
Despite all the delays and complaints, he feels the new bus station will be a ‘massive positive for the city’.
The second Barista’s will be almost double the size of the original with enough space for around 40 covers plus outdoor seating. An extra 12 staff are being taken on ready for when the cafe opens, with an intended launch in early October.
As a starting point, the range of drinks and food will be identical to the other site.
Andy explained: “What we did at Watergate Street was we let people tell us what they wanted. If Chester decides it wants teacakes, we can do teacakes.”
And Jaci said that was the difference between an independent and a national coffee chain – a small local business was flexible enough to listen and adapt to its customers.
The couple, who live in Hope, North Wales, expect their customers will include commuters but also locals. They anticipate a faster turn-over as people go about their daily business and more take-aways.
“It’s not just for bus customers, it’s for the local area because there’s nothing at this end of town at all,” added Andy. “There’s no reason why it can’t become a destination in its own right, like Watergate Street.
“Hopefully we will brighten the place up a bit and give people something to smile about.”
The ever expanding coffee market seems to have no limit. Andy says in some ways cafes have become like the ‘new pubs’ whether people are just passing through or working on lap tops using the free wi fi.
However, the ‘flip-side’ was the market can become saturated in certain areas. So Watergate Street seems to be turning into the city’s Cafe Quarter as more coffee shops line up to serve cappuccinos, lattes and flat whites
■ Barista’s is still recruiting and asks anyone interested to get in touch.