Sheffield coffee shops: Chapter One Coffee boss' sadness as rising costs force business out of Weston Park
Sheffield City Council said they were sorry to see Chapter One leave Weston Park, but wished them all the best for their Barber Road shop.
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The co-owner of the popular Chapter One Coffee brand in Sheffield has thanks customers and "friends" for their support during their time in Weston Park.
Matt Lucas, aged 49, spoke with The Star about how rising costs and falling takings meant the concessions stand, named Hugo the horsebox, couldn't continue.
"There were two or three months that Jo and I have not been able to pay ourselves," Matt said. "The price of everything is going through the roof."
The cost of living crisis heavily affected Chapter One's supply chain - with prices rises at the start of the line having a continuing knock-on effect until it reached their park concessions stand - and falling park footfall meant profit margins were slimming.
Matt admitted there were some days the horsebox even made a loss.
Sheffield City Council did their best to support Chapter One in more ways than one, Matt said, offering more storage and other benefits outside of the fee they charged the business to trade in the park - which, when Chapter One first opened, Matt said equated to 16 per cent of the shop's takings.
However, Matt was very positive about the relationship his business held with the local authority - adding the fees were the only thing they couldn't see "eye-to-eye" on.
Councillor Richard Williams, Chair of the Community, Parks and Leisure Committee, said: "We appreciate the valuable service that Chapter One Coffee has provided to park users over the years.
"We have worked closely with them over that time and we’re sorry that they are leaving Weston Park. We have been delighted to see them establish their new fixed premises at Crookesmoor and we wish them all the best for the future."
Matt said he, his wife Jo, their family and their staff had only good memories of their time in Weston Park, as their focus now switches totally onto their new Barber Road cafe in Crookesmoor.
"We have had some amazing times and met some wonderful people over the time we have traded there," Matt said. "Especially people who are having tough times in the hospitals who used the park as a bit of respite. We have got to know people who we now consider as friends."
Chapter One's recognisable blue branding and popular coffee can also be found in their new cafe. Matt said: "Our initial dream was to own a coffee shop and the concession stand was the first step towards that.
"We put a lot of investment in the shop in order to create a way to thrive how the horsebox doesn't allow us, like giving people shelter and offering a lunch menu."