It’s a question we never thought we’d be answering!
A few months ago, expanding our business was the last thing on our mind. For the first time since we started Capital Coffee, we no longer had a market. Lockdown meant that most of our customers shut up shop.
We wondered whether we would have a business to come back to.
While the package of government support hasn’t been right for every business, we were lucky to be able to utilise some of the small business grants and make use of the furlough scheme too. Most of our staff have been with us for over a decade and are part of the Capital family – we are so pleased that they still are today.
We used the lockdown period to adapt and invest in other parts of our business – in particular, our online shop, after seeing more and more people look to drink quality coffee at home. It didn’t come close to making up what we were losing. Still, it felt good to keep moving forward.
We were delighted that many of our customers took the opportunity to do the same, changing and innovating their businesses to become takeaway-only, coronavirus-safe environments. In most cases, the public embraced this – and when lockdown ended, our coffee roasting picked up much quicker than we had thought. It’s not back at the level it was, and may not be for some time to come, but we are happy that we’ve been able to continue supporting our staff and customers, just as they’ve supported us.
We’ve run Capital Coffee together for the past 40 or so years, supplying cafes, restaurants and other businesses across London and the rest of the UK with freshly roasted coffee, coffee machines, grinders and other essentials. Roasting has always been at the heart of Capital Coffee – we import green beans from across Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa and create unique blends at our roaster in south-west London.
In 2010, our son John joined the business, initially to manage our first coffee shop, Caffè Capital, in Claygate, Surrey. Since then John has become an integral part of the business and the face of Capital Coffee to our customers. Over the years, our daughter Katie and son Andy have both had stints of working with us.
Over the years, we’ve always had a thought in the back of our minds that we’d like to open a second Caffè Capital in our hometown of Cobham, Surrey. We’ve kept an eye out for a suitable site but have never found the right one.
Enter Summer 2020.
The perfect location, a great shop, bags of potential. But with the hospitality sector struggling so much, it was a risk. To take on a long-term contract, to think, could we make it work in spite of the social and economic upheaval that coronavirus has brought on us?
But – we’ve lived in Cobham for 20 years. We know the town and the people, and we believe that an independent coffee shop, serving delicious drinks and tasty food, with friendly staff, will be welcomed by the locals, virus or no virus.
A couple of months later – and we’ve just served our first customers. It’s been a lot of hard work, and the whole family has been involved in recruiting the staff, creating the website, and tasting the menu. We’re delighted to welcoming a new Manager to the family and to be creating a few new jobs at a time when so many people have lost theirs.
We hope to see you at Caffè Capital Cobham soon.
Caffè Capital is just off the High Street, at 28 Hollyhedge Road, Cobham, KT11 3DG. You are welcome to sit indoors or outdoors or get your coffee to takeaway. All COVID-secure measures are in place. To view opening hours and our food and drink menus, visit the page about our Cobham Coffee Shop.