SEEING the improvements that have been made in Bacup led to Stephen and Wendy Middleton to invest in bringing ‘coffee culture’ to the town.
They both have links with the town and decided to open 1832 Barista on St James Street because of the investment that has been made in new shop fronts and pavements as part of Rossendale Council’s £2M Townscape Heritage Initiative. Visitors to the coffee shop, which also offers a take-away service, are impressed with the changes to the former greengrocer’s shop and even though it only opened at the start of May, it has already built up regular customers.
Joiner Stephen said: “We spent eight weeks working 12 hours every day, including weekends, to renovate the inside. We took the walls back to the original stones and that revealed that the building used to be a gable end.
“We used old scaffolding boards to create the tables, a bar, shelves and worktops and when we removed the floor we discovered the old tiles around the door so preserved them. The finished interior looks exactly like I planned it to be.”
They found a pre-decimal half-penny while renovating and decided to preserve it in the wall while it was being pointed.
Wendy used to work for an estate agent but was looking for a job that got her away from the desk. She said: “I like meeting people and everyone has been so welcoming and friendly since we opened. The reception we have had has been amazing and people are now using the Barista as a place to meet and chat. Many of the local traders have also been in to support us.
“We felt like people were passing Bacup by and we knew people who would travel down the Valley just to pick up a good coffee, now they can come to us. You can see the way Rawtenstall has been regenerated and I think the same thing will happen to Bacup; we wanted to be a part of that.
“There is a coffee culture in this country and as a family of coffee drinkers we wanted to bring that to Bacup.”
Stephen and Wendy said they hoped that because they had shown confidence in the town by opening a new business, it would encourage others to also invest in the town.
They called is 1832 because their deeds say that was when the building was constructed.
Acting Chairman of Bacup Townscape Heritage Initiative Councillor Jackie Oakes said: “I am delighted to see that Bacup has welcomed yet another fantastic new business. The town has been transformed in recent years thanks to the THI funding that Rossendale Council was able to secure; it has really made a vast improvement to the look of the town making it an attractive place for prospective businesses to invest in.
“The council also has a Bacup 2040 vision for the town and has made a bid to the Future High Street Fund to hopefully see that become a reality.”