LOCKDOWN during a worldwide pandemic might seem a challenging time to launch a new business – but that has not deterred the determined new tenants of an Uppermill café.
Gill and Mark Bradley are in the process of taking over the Old Library Garden Café and Bar on the village high street, with the aim of welcoming customers in mid-June for takeouts.And along with the usual chores of decorating, cleaning and preparing to open, they have had to factor in Government guidance on social distancing and health advice.
“It has been our long-time dream to open a cafe in Saddleworth so we were delighted when this opportunity came up in March,” said Gill.
“It has been very challenging at times. A lot of companies we want to do business with are either closed or working with limited staff so there have been delays.
“There have also been problems trying to appoint our own staff – we can’t interview people or plan staffing levels due to social distancing rules.
“Also, losing events such as Whit Friday and VE Day was a massive blow as we had lots of plans in place.
“On the plus side this time has helped us to plan properly so hopefully things will be right when we can eventually start trading.
“If things go to plan, we are aiming for mid-June for takeout only and we are hopeful we will be able to open for eating in, if the Government allow, in early July.
“We will be serving a limited takeout menu but once we can open properly we will be selling hot and cold food, sandwiches, platters, salads, and cakes.
“We will cater for special dietary requirements. The premise is licensed too so we can serve alcohol. We will also have a small produce and gift section.
“Our produce will be locally sourced as much as possible and we are already working closely with other businesses in the community.
“We have some of the best views in the village and also heated undercover seating along with seating on the front terrace, and the café will be dog friendly too.”
The Café and Bar is in the Old Library building, which is next to Uppermill park and also home to Arjento jewellers, Saddleworth Outdoor and the Saddleworth Independent.
Saddleworth Outdoor is opening once more on Monday, June 15 and owner Steven Lees is hoping business will boom after three months of lockdown.
“We are usually closed on a Monday or Tuesday but will open now we can and see how the land lies,” he said.
“A lot of people have been sitting at home for three months on furlough and with a mortgage holiday so should hopefully have a pot of gold to spend!
“However they might have changed their habits as they have been shopping online for the last three month so will carry on like that, which is a worry for independent businesses.
“There is a café culture in Uppermill and a lot of people come in for that, rather than shopping, so with the cafés only open for takeaway the high street might be very different.
“There are a lot of quirky, independent shops and it will be interesting to see how they adapt to this and what Uppermill looks like in six months’ time.
“We are lucky to have a very supportive landlord. Now the village and our shops are back open for business so please come and see us.”
Meanwhile, Arjento Jewellers are happy to announce they will re-open from Tuesday, June 16.
They said: “We’ve taken precautions to ensure the safety of our customers and staff. We look forward to welcoming you back.”
This includes installing a protective screen while hand sanitiser is available and required to be used when entering the shop.
The card machine, ring gauges and ring sticks will be sanitised after every use and all jewellery left with the shop undergoes a thorough cleaning. They will accept all usual methods of payment.
They will be operating on an appointments basis only and a maximum of two people and only from the same party will be permitted in the shop at once.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07312 086977 to book an appointment or for more information.