Tired of their stressful and demanding careers up North, Liz and Nigel made the life changing decision to sell up and live the dream of running their own business.
They’d carefully researched for over a year before finally settling on an already established independent coffee shop which had a steady local trade in the mornings and lunchtime.
The menu was popular with many regulars (mostly older or retired), though the decor was tired and a little dated and the reviews were good – apart from the toilets!
Cafe Au Chocolat was conceived by Liz, a practiced chocolatier, and together they wanted to re-brand the existing independent cafe on the main street of Tewkesbury.
A gorgeous old coaching town with it’s own Abbey and Tudor buildings set where the rivers Severn and Avon meet, it’s as popular with tourists as it is with locals.
Inspired by our newly refurbished Chetham Arms, they approached ROO ST for help and were chuffed to learn it would be possible to remain open and trading during the implementation with the use of a well structured phasing plan and reduced opening hours for only a week.
We discussed branding, design concept ideas, style, colour and how we could make a ‘shop within a shop’ for the chocolate and sweets over the phone and by regular emails for weeks before the solicitors finally completed the contract and we could meet in person.
Liz suggested we both bring our dogs instead of using pink carnations so we’d be able to recognise each other when we finally met in person – we both have chocolate labs!
Our meeting allowed us to finalise dates and start the ball rolling to meet our tight deadline – which was only six weeks off!
Lights, fabrics, accessories and paint were all ordered and the work began on the 3 week implementation (the first was all prep).
We needed to gain the trust and get the buy-in from the staff that already worked there and the regular customers too, so we explained the plans and reassured them that all the good things would stay; their top-notch friendly service and delicious hot food.
Electricians, painters, sign writers and carpenters were all coordinated for smooth progress and to complete the transformation with every deadline met the cafe opened as the re-branded Cafe Au Chocolat.
Immediately on the opening weekend and following week, you could see the impact the re branding and refurbishment had: The first weekend was packed out on both days, during the week a younger clientele began dropping in on the way to work for a takeaway coffee and breakfast on the go, and young college students spent more and more time with their friends in the new environment.
Families and couples stayed longer and spent more, tempted by all the delicious hand made chocolates, truffles and fudges… they’d even started buying chocolate wine!
With the job done, ROO ST. were packing up our kit to leave and asked Nigel to keep us posted on how things went with trade.
He said with a big beam on his face “sales have already doubled in the last two weeks” – music to our ears, as nothing gives more satisfaction than than making people’s dreams of a growing business come true … and we know we did that too when we read the lovely thank you note from Liz when we arrived home!