Two former teachers will be swapping the classroom for cake-baking when they open their new vintage tea room in Burton Joyce tomorrow (Tuesday, 7).
Sue Price and Karen Chetwin have teamed up with friend Helen Grainger to open the Willow Tree Tea Room on Main Street and are now hoping to make the grade with their food and drink offering.
Karen, Sue and Helen have already given the premises, which used to house the Bluebird Cafe, the full vintage makeover despite only moving into the property a week ago.
They are now hoping their new venture takes off after taking the risky decision to leave the teaching profession and follow their dream.
Karen said: “We’d had enough of teaching as we’d been doing it for some time. We knew Sue was a really good cook and talked for quite a while about doing something different together, so when this place came on the market we thought it would be ideal for what we wanted to do.”
As well as serving the traditional tea and coffee, the Willow Tree also has an extensive menu catering for all tastes, including vegans and those looking for gluten-free foods.
Karen said: “Sue’s a committed vegan, so we decided to put vegan food on the menu and offer something different. There are a few cafes around here, but we really feel we are now offering something at the Willow Tree that no-one else is doing.”
The business also aims to be eco-friendly, and the owners are putting measures in place to ensure the venue has a healthy carbon footprint.
Karen said: “As well as teachers, Sue and I were also biologists, so we are really keen to remain green.
“The tea rooms will avoid using single-use plastics and recycle as much as possible. We’ll also only use local produce in a bid to reduce food miles.
“Our eggs are free range and all meat is sourced from local suppliers that ensure higher welfare. We also grow all the vegetables we use ourselves.”
An open day was held over the weekend to give the local community a chance to sample what will be on offer when the tea room opens this week.
“Karen said: “The open day went really well. We had 12 staff on during the event and had customers queuing out of the door. There was a lovely feel to the place and we are really delighted that so many people came out from around the community to support us.
The Willow Tree tea shop opens it’s doors from tomorrow and will then be open Tuesday-Saturday between 9am and 5pm.