WHEN Bev Curry’s children flew the nest for college, she found herself with some time on her hands.
The 46-year-old from Norley Hall had always worked and was used to the office environment but now she was ready for a new challenge and something completely different.
That’s when her passion for cooking took over and now she’s on the verge of a culinary triumph with the opening of her very own cafe.
She first enrolled at Wigan and Leigh College for an NVQ in professional cookery and since then, she hasn’t looked back.
Bev’s new venture has seen her join forces with the team at Wigan’s Community Warehouse, where she has opened her very own value for money-themed eatery.
Called The Cafe@The Community Warehouse, Bev’s business offers quality home-cooked favourites at a price everyone can afford. From tea and toast through to mouthwatering main courses, prices start at just 50p and nothing on the menu costs more than £3.
Bev said: “I went back to college as a mature learner because I wanted a new challenge. I’ve always been interested in cookery so it seemed like the right thing to do.
“At the same time I’ve always been involved with community groups in Wigan, so when I get to know everyone at The Community Warehouse, I wanted to do more.”
The Warehouse has had its own canteen area providing hot food for the army of trainees, volunteers and mentors.
So when Bev was given the chance to take it over and open it up to everyone, she jumped at the chance.
“It was a great opportunity and the right thing to do,” she said. “It’s a really exciting time for me and I am determined to make a real go of it.”
The cafe is a real family affair with Bev’s mum Barbara Walsh helping out behind the counter.
At present the cafe is keeping workers in offices and workshops in the Wigan Pier Quarter, close to the Warehouse, well fed and watered from 9.30am until 2pm daily. Her full monty-style breakfasts and speciality sausage pie are firm favourites with the clientele.
But Bev is cooking up some big plans to help her fledgling business rise.
“We have started small because we want to make sure everything runs perfectly before expanding, but we do want to grow. We are hoping to start a delivery service soon and in time we will be looking at providing a full catering service from our base at the Warehouse.”
“It’s a great venue, the people are friendly and there is always lots going on, so we are also looking to offer the cafe area for community groups and organisations to host their events and meetings here as well.”
The Community Warehouse provides training and employment opportunities for local unemployed people and has a strong environmental code of re-use and recycling.
The Cafe is the latest in a number of fledgling businesses the team are helping to launch and support.
Community Warehouse Business Development Manager David Banks said: “In today’s climate, more people are choosing to go down the self-employed route and start their own business.
“This could be great news for the local economy because we really want to create a thriving enterprise culture in the town. But with many small businesses folding within the first few years, it is important they have the right support.”
“We have helped Bev every step of the way in opening and promoting her new business and we’ll be giving her the ongoing support she needs.”
David added: “Her business model is to make cafe food at affordable prices so everyone can enjoy a hot meal at great value. And as a regular customer myself, I can tell you it all tastes great!”
The Cafe@The Community Warehouse opens Monday to Friday from 8am until 2pm. For more information on its range of services and for an up-to-date menu, you can call Bev at the Cafe on 01942 417410.