Independent’s Day…#loyaltycardamnesty

Now, try not to fall off your chairs in shock, I know, an Afternoon Tease blog post really is a rare sighting nowadays! I hadn’t realised it had been 3 whole months since I last posted anything and to be honest it’d have to be something that I feel particularly passionate about to make me sit at my computer after a looong and very hot day in the cafe to write…today (4th July) however, is Independence Day, which also in the last few years has come to be known as Independent’s Day…a celebration of independent retail businesses. Without these businesses I believe that the world would be a very dull and boring place, full of identikit cities. Independent businesses add character, interest and uniqueness to our streets!

Afternoon Tease has now been open for 8 months (I can’t believe it’s been that long!) and the support we have received has been phenomenal, it’s become obvious that people really want to shop local and support new and independent business and not just to resort to the chains. However, I think in some cases, where the chains flood the market, there seems little choice!

The main thing that has struck me, is the loyalty of our customers. I’m under no false illusion that our customers are only visiting us, I see the wads of loyalty cards in their wallets (much like my own) and I’m really glad that they’re sharing the love around other local establishments. I’m sure, some are even still venturing into the odd chain here and there but hey, us indie’s have got a long way to go before we can rival those big boys! 🙂 We get a lot of repeat custom at the cafe and that makes me very happy indeed…it means that we must be getting something right. We reward our returning customers with a stamp on our loyalty cards for every hot drink that they buy and after just 6 months our collection of full loyalty cards completely obliterated the lovely glass doors of my 1950’s sideboard…

Loyalty cards

So we started again…

Loyalty cards 3

and it won’t be long before we have to do the same again! 🙂

Being an independent business is difficult for many reasons although it mainly comes down to finance. Rents are high, ingredients are expensive and if you want to offer a good product, you have to pay the price. But, luckily, nowadays, people are looking for quality produce and really care about what they are eating and drinking.

I’ve always thought that Cambridge was lagging behind London with it’s food and drink offering, but over the last few years it’s really picked up pace. The independent food scene in Cambridge is thriving, with our own coffee roastery, selection of street food traders, supper clubs and diverse range of cafes and restaurants, all with their own unique twist. What’s particularly great, is the camaraderie between the independents…we all frequent each others establishments on our days/evenings off and support each other. At the cafe we’re always borrowing and lending stuff from/to other King Street traders (blue roll, takeaway bags and most recently a tray of eggs) in those moments of need and calling others for advice or just a chat. It feels like we’re all on the same team!

I also love the relationship you can have with independent, local suppliers…I look forward to my weekly chats with Chris at Dovecote Bakery. He’s the hardest working baker I have ever known but will always make time to answer my questions and try out new things for me. Being able to call on experts in their field like Gary at Mill Road Butchers, Jon at The Art of Meat,  Gail at Kandula Tea, Simon at Hot Numbers or Mike at Caravan for advice is fantastic.

Well that’s enough gushing for now, basically what I’m trying to say with this blog post is…thankyou for supporting us as an independent business. Without you, our loyal customer we wouldn’t be able to exist.

You can find out more about Independent’s Day on their Facebook page here or follow their twitter feed @IndieDayUK (#IndieDay) but more importantly, for just one day, why not turn your back on the chains and step through the door of a lovely independent shop instead?

Today, if you come into the cafe and offer up a loyalty card from one of the large chains and let us rip it up…we’ll reward you with the same number of stamps that you’ve relinquished, but on our card! #loyaltycardamnesty

Loyalty cards 2

 

 

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