New Harrogate cafe gives its views on impact of roadmap delay on small independents

A new independent cafe which opened on King’s Road in Harrogate just a few months ago with a mission to be at the heart of the community says the flip-flopping of dates on Covid rules has a big impact on small businesses.
Cafe Lolas’s owner Lola Spencer outside her business on King's Road in Harrogate.Cafe Lolas’s owner Lola Spencer outside her business on King's Road in Harrogate.
Cafe Lolas’s owner Lola Spencer outside her business on King's Road in Harrogate.

Cafe Lolas’s owner Lola Spence said: “I started the business three months ago, on the understanding that the end of the restrictions were only weeks away.

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Business has been tough because people seem to be scared and do not want to come out and people are still working from home which means offices aren’t occupied, which brings less people to the high street.”

Proudly acting as a Sicilian coffee shop selling delicious cakes, cannolis, ice cream and milkshakes,

But Lola says her aim was not just to serve people cake, coffee and food but also to serve up some much-needed support, particularly to people isolated or struggling during the last 15 months of the virus such as very young adults and older folk.

Lola's intention, once she has won permission, is to start up different groups helping people with anything from mental health problems to just a friendly ear.

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She had been planning to start a women’s support group soon each month one evening mid-week but the roadmap delay has itself delayed that idea.

She said: “The people I’m talking about mainly are the very young adults who volunteer for me in return for me to give them barista training and social skills, and the older folk who want a sympathetic ear and a place to socialise with friends and have a cup of tea.

"In speaking to these people there not thinking it’s just another four weeks they’ve lost total confidence in the Government and don’t believe there’s an end in sight, and any dates given are just false promises.

"These aren’t my views but the views of the people I speak to on a daily basis.

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“I had planned to hold a women’s group at the cafe mid July but I won’t be able to do it.”

Located in Harrogate's Kings Quarter, Cafe Lolas' enthusiastic owner, who moved to Harrogate from York last November, has always had a busy life.

After successfully gaining a BA honours degree in youth and community development and a foundation degree is Theology and Christian studies, Lola worked for many years in community development and child protection, as well as with several churches - and she still retains an interest in those areas of life.

One day Lola hopes to be able to open on Friday and Saturday evening enjoying some great background music and making new friends.

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Cafe Lolas is located at 120 King's Road, Harrogate and is open Wednesday to Saturday, 10am-4pm.

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