The Kitchen had something of a refurbishment recently. Looking back four years or so to when we moved into the Blockbuster Video store we started out with furniture gifted to us by another coffee shop, itself undergoing a renovation.
It’s been a pleasure and delight to choose furniture that fits in with our vision for a Vintage Tearoom and Craft Beer Shop. We’ve tried to maintain our ethos of sourcing locally and sustainably, recycling and resusing where possible. Much of the furniture is therefore previously used and loved, and we recognise this may mean it comes from another business that didn’t quite succeed. We treat it with respect and hope that our customers enjoy it as much as we do ourselves.
We have struggled with our opening hours ever since we first opened. Some days are so busy that we have barely enough staff and struggle to cope. Others are quiet and anything not critical to the production side of the business can feel like a drain on perilously low resources. We have tried to manage our hours in accordance with this and for the most part have been successful.
We are however now taking a leap of faith and re-opening 9am – 5pm Tuesday to Saturday. 12 noon – 5pm on a Sunday.
During the summer months we will be open till 6pm on a Thursday/Friday/Saturday and during the school holidays we aim to open every single day including Monday.
In order to staff these extended hours we have again enlarged our team. We are delighted to have a group of young people serving tables and looking after the counter at the weekend. Some even come in after school during the week to help with the washing up!
We also have extra support with our baking and cake decorating, classes and parties. Look out for some pictures and profiles soon as we introduce you to the team.
It’s really not easy running a small business. I sometimes look back and imagine what it might have been like to own The Kitchen thirty years ago. When High Streets and Parades were busy with butchers, bakers, greengrocers and newsagents. When many women stayed home for more than a year to raise their children and walked to school, passing our door on the way. Before prices had risen as they have done recently. And – if I am honest – before TV shows and social media had created and raised expectations of bakers and cake artists. We’ve learned fast and love what we do but few people realise how costly it can be to create the type of cake you see on TV that may have taken a team of bakers and cake artists a day or two to make.
But in spite of these challenges we still believe
And we thank you for your belief in us, your custom and support. One statistic often drives us forward. In Croxley Green there are around 12,000 people. If even 10% of these lovely folk – that is 1200 – were to purchase a cup of tea from us every week that would completely turn around our business. I sometimes say to people that when they buy a cup of tea from us they don’t just pay for that drink – they invest into a community, a culture, a place that means young and old can come together for company, conversation and support.
We’ve been in business for four years now and I hear that is unusual. Anecdotally, many start ups will fail before now for many reasons. We’ve worked hard to avoid these and hope eventually to turn a profit and maybe even retire! But the High Street has changed and is changing still. On the news today someone spoke of the need for the High Street to reinvent itself as somewhere for communities to meet, engage, talk, play and have fun. For The Kitchen to succeed we must build on the many aspects of our business that tie into this and in doing so encourage more and more people to visit and enjoy what we have to offer.
If you’ve never visited us then we’d love you to do so. Pop in for tea and toast, enjoy a coffee and croissant, relax with a light sandwich lunch. Book a Full Afternoon Tea or sample our scrumptious scones. Browse our Craft Beer, come to a Comedy Night or just say hi on social media as we’d love to connect with you! Hope to see you soon 🙂