A couple of customers turned café owners are celebrating their first ten months in business with the introduction of a new drinks licence.
Paul Winterburn and Jane Dunning gave up careers in banking and further education to take over their favourite eatery, the Arthouse Café in Penistone, in January this year.
The food and drink lovers have now developed a new menu, with more free-from options, and gained an alcohol licence for the premises. Paul and Jane plan to introduce themed evenings serving freshly-prepared food, wines, craft ciders and beers soon; and, in 2016, they aim to extend upstairs to create a new events space -and new jobs too.
Their business’ expansion plans are being supported by Barnsley Business and Innovation Centre (BBIC), through the Enterprising Barnsley programme, which is funded by Barnsley Council.
Paul said: “We have always loved the Arthouse Café and came here often as customers. When the opportunity came up to buy the place we couldn’t resist. We are both passionate about food and drink and the idea of running a business within our own community was a dream come true.”
This is the first time Paul and Jane, who both live in the Penistone area, have run their own business. Paul, 60, previously worked in customer services in the banking sector and has spent the last ten years setting up call centres in India, South Africa and the Philippines.
And Jane, 50, has a career in lecturing behind her, leading courses in cookery and nutrition at Altrincham College in Manchester, and health and well-being at Barnsley College.
Paul said: “This was a first for us both and we have worked very hard over the last ten months but loved it. One of the best things for me is the ten minute commute to our café rather than the 20 hour commute by aeroplane to the Philippines.”
Arthouse Café employs 17 people and recently appointed a new chef Stuart Brackenridge, who previously worked at Rivington Hall in Bolton, where he catered for large weddings and developed a reputation for canapes.
His expertise is being put to good use in Paul and Jane’s latest innovation, ‘wedding breakfasts’ for the bridal party on the actual morning of the big day.
Paul said: “Stuart serves beautiful food for the bride and her guests, and having a licence means we can now offer a glass of bubbly to calm the nerves before the special occasion too.”
Paul and Jane’s new café menu will feature more fish, gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free cakes, all baked in-house, and gourmet burgers. They aim to use as much local produce as possible and have already secured Bradfield Brewery as a supplier of real ales. The Arthouse also exhibits local artists’ works and hosts life drawing classes and ukulele lessons.
Enterprising Barnsley has helped Arthouse with online and social media marketing and business coaching.
Paul said: “They have been fantastic. We’ve brought a lot of combined passion, ideas and experience into this venture, but they have really helped with business development and marketing in particular. We really couldn’t have made this much progress without their help.”
Kevin Steel, Enterprising Barnsley’s business development manager at BBIC, said: “Paul and Jane are working really hard to build this established business by listening to their customers and developing their offer in response – hence the new menu, drinks licence and planned events.
“They aim keep the café’s longstanding clientele very happy and also attract new customers to the local economy too. We look forward to their ongoing expansion plans in 2016.”