CoffeeApple Café as a concept initially began in late 2012 by husband and wife team Mark and Liz Wilkinson.
A long-term carer in social work for Liz was taking its toll and the idea of opening a small coffee shop was becoming more and more appealing. The couple spent many hours dreaming and planning an establishment that embraced many of the things they loved, namely, coffee, cake and all things Apple!
The dream began to seem like a real possibility when a unit the couple already owned (that housed the production company set up Mark in 2005) became available for development in their local area.
The couple had already identified that Stocksbridge would benefit from a family friendly, relaxing and stylish coffee shop and so with a business loan and bags of enthusiasm they took the plunge.
Stocksbridge is a small town on the outskirts of Sheffield that until recently relied on the steel industry for the majority of its employment.
The collapse of this industry over the last ten years has impacted significantly on the area and its High Street with many shops and retail units closing and standing empty. In addition to this a new, pending development in the area (which is being portrayed by the developers as the ‘new town centre’) with mainstream, corporate chains arriving threaten the local independent shops that have survived, even further.
From the outset the couple were committed to the community and hoped that a vibrant coffee shop would help bring footfall back to the High Street, increase confidence in the area and maintain some individuality. Indeed the strap line for all the advertising was that CoffeeApple Café hoped to, ‘help keep the high street moving’.
A great deal of thought and work went onto the design of the café.
This has created a relaxed and quirky environment with a formal seated area and a more relaxing sofa filled room. There has been a strong emphasis on providing a family friendly place where children are welcome, encouraged and catered for. CoffeeApple café hoped to provide a space where parents could relax with their children while they enjoyed a coffee. This is achieved by providing books, toys, child friendly I pads, excellent baby changing facilities and plenty of space for pushchairs and prams. The café is a designated safe space for breast-feeding mothers.
The café has a lovely seated garden area, which includes a large converted boat/sand pit and outside games for children.
CoffeeApple Café also offers the use of an i Mac computer along with a printing service (which has become more popular as the locallibrary hours have reduced). We do not charge for printing but ask that people make a donation to our nominated charity, which is currently the Teenage Cancer Trust.
From the onset CoffeeApple Café has been committed to keeping things local, sourcing products from as close by as possible. They shoplocally for fresh produce (meat and vegetables), use locally farmed free range eggs and locally baked fresh bread, all of which feed directly into the local economy.
Coffee is roast in Yorkshire and provided by Bradford based independent coffee company Limini.
The cafe currently employs nine staff all from the local area.
CoffeeApple Café opened in September 2013.
The enthusiasm by which it has been received and the love and support it has had has been amazing and humbling. Almost two years later, it is now a crucial part of Stocksbridge; it has become a local meeting point, a destination for friends, somewhere that will support localcauses with sponsorship, raffle prizes, and funding, indeed an important part of the community.
People tell us they feel proud they have ‘somewhere nice to bring family and friends’, ‘somewhere nice that makes them feel valued as customers’.
CoffeeApple Café hopes to continue to develop and promote its services and maintain or increase its customer base. It recognises that the next few months will be challenging in respect of this as it has to compete with the arrival of the coffee corporates at the new development.
It aims to do this by developing its web site /Facebook interactions, expanding its gifts and local produce range and developing its own range of branded goods.
CoffeeApple Café will continue to do what it does best…maintain its independence, provide good quality, fresh local produce, continue to provide excellent customer service, maintain its place in the community and continue to value our most important asset… our customers…………..who have a lot of good things to say about us!