A couple are to open a new independent cafe in Bowdon next month that they say will give the community the family-friendly meeting place it needs.
Fraser and Katrina Higson will officially open Coffee & Kitchen Bowdon on Wednesday July 8th, occupying the former home of Cafe Seven on Vicarage Lane.
Their idea rests on a sense of what is missing in Bowdon and Bowdon Vale – a home for “wholesome, quality, home-cooked food and good coffee” in an environment that embraces mums and their children as much as home-workers with their laptops.
And the Higsons should know what the community needs – they’re a part of it, living just a few yards from their new business.
“It’s a proper community down here,” said Katrina, “and it was the people and the neighbourhood that convinced us to come here when we moved back a couple of years ago. There’s a great mix of people and we’ve found it very friendly.
“But even though there are lots of families around here and two big schools, you’ve got to go to Hale or Altrincham for coffee or lunch.”
Below: The cafe’s branding, and (above) Katrina and Fraser Higson
Fraser and Katrina had been on the lookout for a new project for a while, but the opportunity to take over the lease of Cafe Seven came out of the blue on a visit to the Co-op.
“I saw the cafe sign had been boarded up I so spoke to the lady behind the post office counter, who confirmed it had shut down,” said Fraser, who promptly hot-footed it across the road. “The tenant confirmed she was retiring and put me on to the landlady. We met up, she really liked my idea and we agreed a deal.”
It wasn’t quite as easy as that – with the potential footfall from the popular pharmacy next door and the Co-op, an orderly queue of other suitors had quickly formed. The Higsons’ idea, however, won the day.
Fraser brings experience to the table in the form of a background in outside catering and events, while Katrina is well known to many local mums as the founder of Hale-based Cheshire Baby Massage.
“I’ve taught over 200 mums with their babies,” added Katrina, “and at the end of classes it’s always difficult to know where to go that isn’t Costa, where you can sit and have a coffee and be made to feel welcome.”
Below: Coffee & Kitchen Bowdon will be located on the former site of Cafe Seven (right), opposite the Co-op
They’re aiming to use as many local suppliers as possible, including Cheshire Farm Ice Cream and Hig’s Pigs sausages, sourced from an organic farm that Fraser owns in Delamere.
“The quality of the food is critical to it,” he said. “We know that there’s a demand for not just doing a 50p sausage bap, but doing an amazing sausage bap where people can really taste the difference. We want to do that in everything we do.”
Local feedback has convinced them to keep Cafe Seven’s coffee, tea and hot chocolate supplier (Matthew Algie), and there’ll be a range of homemade, freshly made options for breakfast (they’ll be opening at 7.30am), brunch and lunch, as well as cakes, ice creams and kids’ meals. There’s space for 28 upstairs, up to 18 downstairs and around 10 outside.
They’ll also be correcting one perceived shortcoming of the previous cafe by extending the closing time from 3pm to 5pm in order to catch the after-school crowd. Ensuring kids of all ages are catered for during the week is clearly a big priority – they’ll even be taking their ice cream out to local parks on a trike.
Below: Coffee & Kitchen will be serving Cheshire Farm Ice Cream
As well as hiring four permanent staff, the Higsons are busily managing the complete refurbishment of the venue into a “modern, yet homely” space. There’ll also be a traditional toy and book area upstairs for kids.
“The quieter summer months will give us time to bed in because you’re not going to get everything right first time – nobody does,” added Katrina.
“But it’s exciting, and what’s made it even more exciting has been the response of people locally, and we haven’t even opened the doors yet.”