So, this is hopefully the first of many timbers group blog posts.
For those unsure who or what timbers group is, here’s a quick run through.
Timbers group consists of 3 café restaurants. At the moment all three are open only during daytimes, at varying hours though. They are all very different in who they serve and, what they offer.
Timbers first, we have owned timbers for 7 years now. When we took this place on it had been empty for 2 years smelt of rats and damp and looked like a bomb had hit it! However I felt there was potential.
I told my wife who is also a partner in the business and I told my then business partner (with whom I had a 50% share in a successful pub), Michael. Between us we made the decision to try it. Michael eventually left the business 3 years later but we remain good friends. We chose the name timbers due to the 400 year old timber beams all across the ceilings and walls; it really is a taste of time long ago inside. Beautiful though, and the tourists and Americans love it! Many a yank has taken photos of the history contained within the place.
Timbers now is the main-stay of the group. The founder member and backbone of all we do. We have a great team here and they all work really hard to ensure we do well, and the customers get what they want.
After just over 2 years of the owning timbers I was offered the opportunity to lease the Eat Inn. A café (that had certainly seen better days) on a busy industrial estate. All the décor was bright royal blue and golden yellow, plants everywhere, dust to go with it and an ever diminishing customer base. They had a dog, a golden retriever or Labrador so I remember, who occupied the main restaurant and wondered over to greet all entering customers. (Not great when you are about to eat hey!) Before long we agreed a deal and we set to work making this business what it is today. A busy, friendly relaxed café, known for such delicacies as “the Mega” a breakfast of ridiculously big proportions, which most people have a go at but can’t get to the end of.
After 3 years of our café duo, we added to our portfolio. Next door to timbers was a small restaurant with a charming courtyard garden which housed an impressive willow tree at the rear. It was called café at 21 (a name derived by its number in the street).
We had spoken to the, then, owners about that potentially being a good name and low and behold they chose it. They opened it and made it vaguely successful. They had a solid customer base looking for somewhere to enjoy a glass of wine, a taste of whole, vegetarian and vegan foods. There was however too much work involved in running this restaurant for them and the owners decided after a year or so to offer us the chance of taking it over. WE had a good long think but decided a couple of weeks later that, if the deal was right for both of us, we would take the business on. (
Thus, cafe21 was born. This helped transform the duo into a small group, and this little artisan café has added a new string to our group bow. We’ve changed the menu, and with it the client base has shifted slightly, but this still attracts the ever so slightly bohemian crowd, students, oaps looking for something different and still happily catering for the vegan and vegetarian world( as well as meat eaters of course!!). It’s different to the others, adding a new dimension, and adding outside space to our offering for the first time.