A Stourbridge woman whose ambition to create community hub was dashed by the Coronavirus outbreak, has taken her first steps in seeing it realised.
Three months later than planned, and with social distancing very much in place, Glenda Taylor has welcomed her first sit-in customers through the doors of Oh-So Coffee on Barnett Lane in Kingswinsford, Stourbridge.
And while the opening isn’t anything like the launch she had originally planned, the support she has received has been overwhelming. Glenda said:
“Opening my own coffee shop has always been my dream. I am very community-spirited and after spending 25 years in the financial sector I wanted to create a place where people could come in, drink coffee, eat cake and spend time with friends and family.
“Because of the Coronavirus outbreak, our original Easter launch was delayed until we took the plunge and opened for takeaway in late June. The local community got behind us right away and the feedback has been fantastic, so as soon as we felt safe to do so, we opened part of the coffee shop for sit-in customers.
“Even though we were nervous about opening during such a difficult time and with so much regulation, receiving such warm feedback has made it feel so much easier.”
Glenda has had to rethink her entire business following the impact of Coronavirus. Her original plan was to staff the coffee shop with part-time employees who could work flexibly around childcare and other commitments. However, right now she is joined by two family friends. Glenda added:
“This is not the business I had envisaged but I will continue to adapt to make it a success. It’s been a steep learning curve, but we have grabbed it by the horns and ran with it.
“People are going through a lot worse right now.”
Despite the setback, community remains at the heart of the business. Glenda sources as much produce from local artisans, and even the coffee comes from a local supplier. Her fresh cakes are from the shop’s previous tenant, a bespoke cake maker.
Harvey Pearson, Director at Hexagon Commercial Property in Stourbridge, arranged the pre-let of the shop before it was bought by commercial landlords Stewardson Developments. Harvey said:
“We were trying to find a property for Glenda to realise her dream of a community-minded coffee shop and this property is ideally located between two primary schools.
“When it came on the market we knew it would be the perfect fit for Glenda, as well as a good buy for Stewardson Developments, who managed to conclude a swift purchase and structural refurbishment of the property.”