Lincoln’s characterful niche businesses have some great stories to tell and Small Business Saturday (December 2nd) is a brilliant opportunity for more people to discover what makes them so special!
Those offering a warm welcome to old and new customers include two which joined the cityscape this year – Coffee Bobbins, which opened in The Strait seven months ago and in November the arrival The Ticklebelly Lane Bakery and Tea House in Guildhall Street.
Christine Spencer fulfilled a dream when she launched Coffee Bobbins, after a two-year search for the ideal premises. She instinctively knew she had found them when she took a closer look at a shop in The Strait.
Now she loves the fact that she is firmly on the city’s tourist trail and based alongside other independent businesses. Christine, a trained seamstress, has also furnished her coffee shop with treadle sewing machine tables, creating a unique ambience!
“After a period of making theatre costumes and other garments, I’d got the T-shirt and wanted another challenge. Coffee Bobbins is open seven days a week and is hard work, but also rewarding,” said Christine.
“A special selling point is the fact that we have our own kitchen and bake our own cakes. I employ seven other people and we are proud to use local produce including cheese, eggs and ham.”
Christine also enjoys chatting to tourists and encouraging conversation between her customers.
But she hasn’t left her sewing skills behind. She is shortly due to go to Edinburgh to “fit-out” (adjust) the sportswear for curling competitors in the Winter Olympics and shortly afterwards will visit Stockport to “fit-out” other Olympics competitors.
Ticklebelly Lane Bakery & Tea House
The Ticklebelly Bakery & Tea House is a “country cousin” which has relocated to the city. The Guildhall Street business has a ground floor kitchen and shop, with an upstairs tea house and also a classroom. It also has a bakery in Exchange Road, Lincoln.
The business, which employs nine people, is headed by Director James Cook, who is helped by his mum Julie and also his brother Jack, who is kept busy doing deliveries.
Ticklebellys is delighted to have brought its own uniqueness and new flavours to the city. It is also enjoying sharing its expertise through year-round classes.
“When we were at North Scarle, people from miles around – including Lincoln - came to buy from us so we decided we would like to move into the city,” said Julie.
“We make everything from our bread and cakes from scratch and we have three bakers working all night every night, so everything is very fresh.
“Another thing that makes us different, is the fact that we run courses, including those in artisan bread-making, Tastes of Italy bread and cakes and other cake-making and decorating.
“These make real great Christmas and Birthday presents and people can find out more about them on our website at: www.ticklebellylanebakery.co.uk
Lincoln BIG Chief Executive Matt Corrigan said: “Lincoln, with its wide variety of national and local niche businesses offers people a brilliant shopping experience and our independent traders are an important part of the mix.
“It is particularly interesting to see how creative even those working in the same sectors have been in differentiating their businesses, by the way in which they are decorated, and the products and foodstuffs they are offering. Of course, they are also famed for the personal welcome they give to customers.”