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Saturday, 01 November 2014

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Couple branch out into city coffee shop

A COUPLE who gave up their jobs in the NHS to embark on a career change have just launched the city’s newest coffee shop.

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Blend: Eddie Kelly and his wife Caroline have opened the Olive Tree Cafe in Bank Street

Eddie and Caroline Kelly opened the Olive Tree Cafe in Bank Street, Carlisle, this week.

Situated in the former Bloomsbury florist shop, near the junction with Lowther Street, it will serve light meals, snacks and speciality coffees both to eat in or take away.

For the past four years Eddie has worked as disablement services centre manager at the Cumberland Infirmary, while Caroline was a nurse at the hospital up until this week.

But both having backgrounds in catering and personal passion for food, they had always hoped to one day start their own business.

Eddie said it was actually working in the disablement services centre, where he has helped many people who have undergone amputations to rebuild their lives, that inspired him to take the plunge.

“I have met so many patients who have inspired me, people who have overcome severe disabilities and achieved so much. It made me realise that if you have a dream you should follow it. In a funny way I think that spurred me on,” he said.

He and Caroline, who have two grown-up sons and live in Carlisle, have been gradually saving to start their own business but have to date struggled to find premises they were really happy with.

Eddie said they looked at all sorts of buildings and toyed with the idea of taking over a going concern. But when the Bank Street premises became available it fitted perfectly with their vision.

“The location is great. It’s really central with a lot of footfall and the shop is just what we were looking for,” he said. “There are two other coffee shops in this area which I think is a good thing as people associate this part of Carlisle with good quality coffee.”

Eddie and Caroline are working alongside a couple from Embleton, near Cockermouth, who have their own coffee roastery business, called Carvetii. Together, they have sourced ethically, fairly traded beans to create their own blend that is unique to Carlisle.

Despite the recession, Eddie believes that trade in the city is now on the up with several new businesses opening, so now is a good a time as any to launch. They hope to take on two or three staff initially, gradually expanding to meet demand.

After getting the keys a month ago, the couple have only finished their previous jobs in the past week so have been working round the clock to get the premises ready.

They have redecorated and refitted to give it a modern yet luxurious feel and will be opening every day between now and Christmas, including Thursday late night shopping. They are also considering hosting chess evenings and book club meetings.

The cafe, which has disabled access, seats 23 people.

PMcGowan@cngroup.co.uk

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