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Wednesday, 30 September 2020
A NEW coffee shop due to open in Wargrave in November will be both paperless and cashless.
The owners of H’artisan Speciality Coffee say they want to ensure their customers stay safe during the coronavirus pandemic.
People will only be able to pay using a contactless card or phone.
Nick Hart, who will run the venture with his wife Sarah, said: “We are environmentally conscious and wish to do our little bit to help the planet.
“After much debate, we have made the decision to go paperless and cashless. Due to the recent pandemic, we feel that this is important for the health and wellbeing of our customers.
“This is primarily around the point of sale system and the number of paper till receipts that are given out — pointlessly — across the country every day. If customers request a receipt they will receive one by email.”
The café will open at the former offices of Quantum Valuations and Talbot & Associates in High Street after Wokingham Borough Council granted change of use permission earlier this year.
The Harts, who live in Cockpole Green with the daughter Izzy, nine, are waiting on the council to approve their plans to alter the front of the building before they will open for business. They want new signage on the building, which is in the Wargrave conservation area adjoining Timber Cottage and opposite Woodclyffe Hall, which are both Grade II listed. They have chosen a colour scheme of calke green, bronze and white to complement with the Weir Grove restaurant, which is opposite.
Mr Hart, who is a Wargrave parish councillor, said: “There’s a lot going on behind the scenes and still much to do.
“Our journey began in December 2018 when we acquired the freehold of the building and then shortly after the adjoining flat.
“This enables us to expand the shop to incorporate the whole area as well as a private rear garden, which luckily is a sun trap.
“We have undertaken multiple planning applications, including a change of use to restore the ground floor back to its traditional use and the shopfront and signage.
“After many hours of hard work, it feels like we are now on the home straight. In the coming weeks, you will see H’artisan finally begin to take shape.”
The shop fitting and work on the roof will take about eight weeks, depending on the weather.
“This has been an exciting but mammoth task as we have had to make literally hundreds of decisions,” said Mr Hart. “We will share more detail closer to the time but our objective is to produce a high-quality environment, serving the very best speciality coffee, tea, cakes, pastries and, of course, nutritious foods in a relaxed and welcoming environment.”
He and his wife, who is a self-employed nutritionist, have been trying out recipes at home with Izzy and have spent many hours sourcing the speciality teas and coffee.
Mr Hart said the business would use local suppliers where possible.
The café will welcome both dogs with their owners and cyclists.
Mr Hart said: “We have adjusted our original plans to enable customers to bring their bikes into a dedicated areas while enjoying refreshments.
“We will soon be looking to recruit staff, alongside a head barista, to become part of the H’artisan family.”
Mr Hart said he was thankful to Andrew Tolley, founder of the Harris + Hoole coffee chain, for his advice, and Mr Tolley’s sister, Laura Davis, who had been the design consultant.
The building used to be a tea parlour and International Tea Stores in the 1870s. The whole ground floor was a shop until 1986, when part of it was converted into a flat. In 1994, planning permission was granted to use the remaining retail space for financial and professional use.
H’artisan will be open from 7am to 7pm on weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturdays and 10am to 5pm on Sundays.
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